On October 8, 2003 , the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies played a NBA preseason game in Paris, as part of the NBA Europe Games 2003, in front of a sell-out crowd of 14,480. The NBA Champion Spurs won 105-93 and Tony Parker received a standing ovation when he received the MVP award in front of his home crowd. After the game, the Memphis Grizzlies traveled to Barcelona where they played local team FC Barcelona on October 10. Memphis won the game 91-80 and Pau Gasol, former player for FC Barcelona, showed that he truly belonged to Memphis.
The 1999 McDonald’s Championship took place at the Fila Forum in Milan, Italy, on October 14-16. The bi-annual basketball event was a three-day competition featuring the NBA Champions and five international club champions. The San Antonio Spurs were crowned tournament champion after defeating Vasco De Gama 103-68 in the title game.
In 1997, the McDonald’s Championship returned to Paris with the NBA Champions Chicago Bulls taking part. Traveling for the first time outside North America, the Bulls competed against five of the best teams in international competition; Olympiakos Piraeus, Atenas de Cordoba, PSG Racing, F.C. Barcelona and Benetton Treviso. Led by Michael Jordan, the Bulls defeated PSG Racing 89-82 in the semifinals and European champions Olympiakos Piraeus in the final 104-78. During the three-day competition, Jordan scored 55 points in two games and won MVP honors.
NBA's Europe Tour '96 featured the Seattle SuperSonics and Indiana Pacers playing a pair of preseason games; one in Berlin, Germany on October 18 and the other in Seville, Spain on October 20. Popular German star Detlef Schrempf, who played in front of his home crowd, added to the excitement of the event. Schrempf, native Dutchman Rik Smits, Reggie Miller, and other players made public appearances during the tour to reach out to European fans.
Indiana 98 - Seattle 95
Seattle 82 - Indiana 72
Palacio de los Deportes
In front of a sellout crowd of 10,708 at London Arena in London, England, the Houston Rockets defeated Buckler Bologna of Italy, 126-112, in the championship game of the six-team McDonald’s Championship, The Rockets were the first reigning NBA Champions to play in the McDonald’s Championship.
The NBA also staged a Europe Tour in October 1994. The Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets played a game in Paris against each other, and then faced a European team in Barcelona and Bologna, respectively.
Golden State 132 - Charlotte 116
Palais Omnisports Paris-Bercy
Golden State 122 - Badalona 104
Pavello Olimpic de Badalona
Charlotte 114 - Bologna 107
Palasport di Casalecchio
In the finals of the sixth McDonald’s Open, held at the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany, the Phoenix Suns defeated Italian League champion Buckler Bologna 112-90, as Charles Barkley led all scorers with 28 points. Barkley was awarded the Drazen Petrovic Trophy as MVP of the tournament, after scoring 52 points in two games.
In the first preseason game between two NBA teams ever played in Europe, the Orlando Magic, behind 14 fourth-quarter points from Dennis Scott, defeated the Atlanta Hawks 120-95 before a sold-out crowd of 9,483 at Wembley Arena in the opening of the two-game NBA London Games series.
Orlando 120 - Atlanta 95
Atlanta 113 - Orlando 101
The “city of lights” was the site for the 1991 McDonald’s Championship. The Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Paris, France to compete against the host team CSP Limoges, Joventut Badalona and Slobodna Dalmacija Split of the former Yugoslavia. With Magic Johnson at the helm, the Lakers defeated CSP Limoges before edging out Joventut Badalona 116-114 to win the title.
The 1990 McDonald’s Championship took place in Barcelona, Spain with the New York Knicks, Scavolini Pesaro, POP 84 Split, and F.C. Barcelona competing for the title. In a thrilling overtime opener, the Knicks, led by All-Star Patrick Ewing, beat the Scavolini Pesaro and then defeated POP 84 Split, 117-101, in the final.
In its third year, the McDonald’s Championship moved to Rome, Italy. This time, the Denver Nuggets represented the NBA against the Spanish Champion F.C. Barcelona, the European Champion Jugoplastika Split, and Philips Milan. The Nuggets defeated Barcelona in their tournament opener and went on to defeat Jugoplastika Split 135-129 to capture the title.
In the first McDonald’s Championship to be held in Europe, the Boston Celtics defeated Real Madrid 111-96 at the Palacio de Deportes in Madrid Spain.
The Atlanta Hawks became the first NBA team to play in the Soviet Union when they defeated the Soviet Georgia All-Stars, 85-84, in an exhibition game as part of their July 20-31 tour.
The Milwaukee Bucks defeated Tracer Milan of Italy, 123-111, in the opening game of the first McDonald’s Open, held at the Milwaukee Arena. The Bucks defeated the Soviet National Team, 127-100, in the championship game of the tournament sponsored by the NBA and FIBA.