Jazz to Host NBL's Sydney Kings in Preseason Opener
Utah to host Australian team in first game inside the newly renovated Vivint Smart Home Arena on Oct. 2
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) announced today the Utah Jazz will host the Sydney Kings on Oct. 2 at Vivint Smart Home Arena, marking the first time that NBL teams will travel to the U.S. to play against NBA Teams.
“The Jazz are the most internationally diverse team in the NBA, including two players from Australia,” said Utah Jazz President Steve Starks. “Our franchise is excited to host an NBL team from Sydney in the first game played at our newly remodeled Vivint Smart Home Arena.”
Joe Ingles and Danté Exum are the two current Aussies on the Jazz, after a record-tying eight Australian players appeared on 2016-17 opening night NBA rosters. Ingles began his professional career with the South Dragons of the NBL (2006-09) at the age of 18, earning 2006-07 NBL Rookie of the Year and winning an NBL championship in 2008-09.
“This is massive for Australian basketball and an exciting opportunity for NBA and NBL players to compete together on the same floor,” said Ingles. “As an Aussie who began my career in the NBL and now entering my fourth season with Utah, I am very proud of the growth of the game in my home country and can’t wait for the Jazz and Salt Lake City to play host to Sydney this fall.”
A native of Happy Valley, South Australia, Ingles re-signed with the Jazz to a multi-year contract on July 25. The 29-year-old is entering his fourth NBA campaign, all with the Jazz. He finished this past season averaging career highs in points (7.1), rebounds (3.2) and assists (2.7), while ranking third in the league in three-point percentage (.441) in 24.1 minutes per contest. The 22-year-old Melbourne-born Exum just finished his second NBA season averaging 6.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game and became the fifth Jazz player to appear in multiple Rising Stars Challenges (2015, 2017). Both Ingles and Exum are members of the Boomers, the Australian Men’s National Team program.
The Jazz, who were already the most international team in the NBA last season, now have eight players on the current Jazz roster born outside the United States hailing from Australia (two), France, Brazil, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
The complete 2017 Jazz preseason schedule will be announced at a later date.
About the Utah Jazz
Founded as the 18th member of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1974, and located in Salt Lake City since 1979, the Utah Jazz are committed to excellence as a team and in the community. On the court, the Jazz are the third-winningest team in the NBA over the last 30 years, having won nine division titles and two Western Conference championships along with 15 seasons of 50-plus wins, and are supported by one of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports. Away from the court, the Jazz are very active in the local community and have assisted a multitude of organizations and worthy causes by way of charitable donations, service and grants through Larry H. Miller Charities. The Utah Jazz also operate the Junior Jazz program, the largest and longest-running youth basketball league in the NBA, featuring more than 50,000 players and an additional 13,000 volunteers who take part annually across seven states. For more information on the Utah Jazz, visit www.utahjazz.com.
About the NBL
The National Basketball League in Australia is one of the of the premier basketball leagues in the world. Established in 1978 the League now has eight teams based in cities across the country - Adelaide 36ers, Cairns Taipans, Melbourne United, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats, Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets and Illawarra Hawks. Some of the NBL’s greatest players include former NBA player and five-time Olympian Andrew Gaze, 21-season scoring-machine Leroy Loggins, five-time championship-winner Larry Sengstock, and 500-game veterans Ray Borner and James Crawford. From humble beginnings, the NBL now sells out stadiums with more than 650,000 attending games each season and live TV coverage nationally. The NBL has NBL.com.au, and a live streaming NBL APP. The 2017-18 season will be its 40th as a league.