NEW YORK, July 15, 2008—The Basketball Federation of I.R. Iran and its FIBA Asia Champion men’s national basketball team have been invited by the NBA, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, to compete against NBA teams and the NBA Development League Ambassadors over the next six days in Utah. As part of its trip, the Iranian national team will participate in the Rocky Mountain Revue presented by StoresOnline, the Utah Jazz-hosted summer league.

The Iranian national team will play four games during its stay in Utah as part of its preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games, which will be played in Beijing, China. In addition to games and scrimmages, the team will also observe NBA team practices and engage NBA and D-League players and coaches in basketball dialogue. The team will also have the opportunity to visit American cultural sites.

“In an increasingly turbulent world, it is rewarding to bring people together to celebrate teamwork, discipline and respectful competition on the court,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “In this spirit, the NBA embraces the opportunity to welcome the Basketball Federation of Iran and the Iranian Olympic team in a demonstration of how something as simple as a game of basketball can promote understanding.”

The Iranians will play two exhibition games against the NBA D-League Ambassadors at “The Factory”, the practice facility of the NBA D-League’s Utah Flash. The first game vs. the Ambassadors is Thursday, July 17 at 5 p.m. MT, while the second matchup between the two teams is Sunday, July 20 at 5 p.m. MT. The NBA D-League Ambassadors roster consists of 10 players who competed in the D-League this past season. The Ambassadors are coached by Tulsa 66ers coach Joey Meyer, the league’s all-time leader in wins.

The Iranian national team will also play two games in the Rocky Mountain Revue presented by StoresOnline against NBA summer league teams. On Saturday, July 19, the Iranians face the Dallas Mavericks at 2:15 p.m. MT at the Lifetime Activities Center on the campus of Salt Lake Community College. The Iranians conclude their trip to Salt Lake City on Monday, July 21 when they play the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m. MT at the Lifetime Activities Center.

The visit and cultural exchange emanated from President Bush’s 2006 call for expanded people-to-people exchanges with Iran. In response, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has been including Iranians in a broad range of traditional educational, professional and cultural exchange programs for the first time since 1979. Over 160 Iranian artists, athletes and medical professionals have participated in exchange programs in the United States. Through its Sports United program, ECA has brought the Iranian national teams for water polo, weightlifting and men’s and women’s table tennis to the United States. The State Department also sent members of USA Wrestling to Iran to compete in the prestigious Takhti Cup in 2007.

IRAN NATIONAL TEAM SCHEDULE
(All Times Local to Salt Lake City)
Thu., July 17 vs. NBA D-League Ambassadors, 5 p.m. (Utah Flash “The Factory” Facility)
Sat., July 19 vs. Dallas, 2:15 p.m. (Lifetime Activities Center, Salt Lake Community College)
Sun., July 20 vs. NBA D-League Ambassadors, 5 p.m. (Utah Flash “The Factory” Facility)
Mon., July 21 vs. Utah, 7 p.m. (Lifetimes Activities Center, Salt Lake Community College)