The NBA has staged games outside the United States and Canada since 1988. As of 2007, the NBA has staged 87 games outside the United States and Canada featuring NBA teams (13 regular season and 74 preseason/exhibition (36 NBA vs. FIBA/Euroleague/National Team, 37 NBA vs. NBA and one NBA vs. Team China All-Stars).


  • Since 1988, the NBA has staged games with NBA teams in 16 countries and territories: Bahamas, China, Dominican Republic, England, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Russia, Puerto Rico, Spain and Turkey.
  • Since the NBA’s inaugural international game, 28 NBA teams have participated in international play: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, New Orleans (formerly Charlotte) Hornets, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle SuperSonics, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards (Charlotte Bobcats and Milwaukee Bucks have not played overseas).


Since 1988, the NBA has staged 44 preseason games in 18 different cities throughout Europe. (It has participated in eight McDonald’s Championships (16 games featuring an NBA team) and has staged 28 preseason games (nine NBA vs. NBA games and 19 NBA vs. FIBA/Euroleague/National teams)

  • The first official exhibition game outside the United States and Canada with an NBA team took place in July 1988 when the Atlanta Hawks became the first NBA team to play in the Soviet Union. In the first game, the Hawks defeated the Soviet National team 85-84.

1988 Atlanta Hawks Tour of the Soviet Union

7/25/88 Atlanta Hawks 85 – Soviet National Team 84 (played in Tbilisi, Soviet Republic of Georgia)

7/27/88 Atlanta Hawks 110 – Soviet National Team 105, (OT) (played in Vilnius , Lithuania)

7/30/88 Soviet National Team 132 – Atlanta Hawks 123 (played in Moscow)

  • The first McDonald’s Open in Europe took place on Oct. 21, 1988 at the Palacio de Deportes in Madrid, Spain where the Boston Celtics defeated Real Madrid 111-96 in the finale on Oct. 23 to win the tournament.
  • Most recent : In 2007, NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS™ returned to six European cities in four countries and played seven games in five days. In 2006, the inaugural NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS™ took place in seven cities and five countries (Treviso and Rome, Italy; Lyons and Paris, France; Moscow, Russia; Barcelona, Spain; and Cologne Germany). There were 11 games (nine featuring NBA teams) in six cities in five countries in six days.
  • Since 1988, the NBA has been to the following countries in Europe to stage games (*McDonald’s Championship):
    • England (1993 (two games), *1995, 2007)
    • France (*1991, 1994, *1997, 2003, 2006)
    • Germany (*1993, 1996, 2006)
    • Georgia (1988)
    • Italy (*1989, 1994, *1999, 2006, 2007)
    • Lithuania (1988)
    • Russia (1988, 2006)
    • Spain (*1988, *1990, 1994, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2007)
    • Turkey (2007)
  • The first NBA preseason game in Europe took place on Oct. 30, 1993 when the Orlando Magic defeated the Atlanta Hawks 120-95 in London, England at Wembley Arena.


  • The first NBA exhibition game in Tel Aviv, Israel took place on Oct. 11, 1999 when the Miami Heat defeated Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, 126-91.


  • The first NBA preseason game in the region took place Oct. 10, 1991 in Nassau, Bahamas at the Crystal Palace Resort when the Miami Heat defeated the Washington Bullets 109-98. Since then, the NBA has staged 25 games in the Americas/Caribbean – 17 in Mexico, six in Puerto Rico (1993, 1994 (two games), 2003, 2005 and 2006), one in the Bahamas (1991) and one in the Dominican Republic (2002). Of the 25 games, all have been preseason matchups except for a regular season game in Mexico, City, Mexico on Dec. 6 1997, when the Houston defeated Dallas, 108-106, in front of a sold-out Palacio de los Deportes.


  • The 2003 NBA Japan Games between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Seattle SuperSonics marked the NBA’s sixth staging (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2003) of regular season games in Japan since 1990 and was the second visit for each team. In 1990, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to stage regular season games outside of North America when the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz opened the 1990-91 season with two games in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym.
  • The first-ever NBA games 2004 in China took place October 14 and 17 when the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings played preseason games in Beijing and Shanghai. The NBA is the first American professional sports league to stage games in China. The historic NBA China Games 2004 were played on October 14 in Shanghai at the Shanghai Stadium to a capacity of 11,333 seats, and on October 17 in Beijing at the Capital Stadium to a capacity of 17,903 seats.
  • The NBA China Games 2007 tipped off on Oct. 17 with a game between the Cavaliers and the Magic in Shanghai at the Qizhong Forest Sports City arena with a capacity of 13,779. The event then headed to Macao for two games at the new Venetian Arena with a capacity of 15,000. On Oct. 18, the Magic took on Team China, and a rematch between the Magic and the Cavaliers took place on Oct. 20.