Tony Parker missed his chance to play for his country this summer, a broken finger kept him out of the world championships in August, but he wouldn’t miss the chance to play for the home fans in two cities. Now the San Antonio Spurs’ guard is getting a chance to play in his homeland.
The Spurs is one of the four NBA teams that are in France, spending a portion of its preseason overseas as part of the NBA Europe Live tour. The Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns joined the Spurs in Europe to get an earlier start even if this meant they would do it really far from home. The rest of the NBA just opened up training camps at home. The 76ers are in Barcelona, the Clippers in Moscow and the Suns in Treviso, Italy, and Rome.
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns will later head to Cologne, Germany, for the most important event of the whole trip, a two-day tournament that also includes CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv, the top two finishers in the Euroleague last year. The last event is heavily pushed by the NBA, they are calling it its “most ambitious international initiative, " because it comes with a number of marketing and promotional activities.
I think we can all conclude that this is a Public Relations trip more than a preseason preparation, since basketball has become such a global game. What brings the more challenge to the players might be the fact that it is something like 13 time zones. They will be jet lagged and they will be going to be playing two pretty tough teams. But at the end the NBA has high hopes that the teams will accomplish what they want to accomplish, and in the process they might want to take advantage of the trip for the players to get a little culture as well.
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