76ers to Host NBL's Melbourne United in NBA Preseason
76ERS WILL FACE OFF WITH AUSTRALIAN PROFESSIONAL TEAM MELBOURNE UNITED ON SEPT. 28
PHILADELPHIA – JUNE 26, 2018 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball League (NBL) today announced that the Philadelphia 76ers will host Melbourne United on Friday, Sept. 28 at The Center during the 2018 preseason. Melbourne United will be the first of five NBL teams to play seven games against NBA teams this coming preseason between Sept. 28 and Oct. 5.
“My history in Australia and my history especially with Australian basketball has helped shape my current status as an NBA head coach,” Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown said. “The basketball scene is extremely well-organized, extremely well-coached, and the growth of the game is not to be disputed. The wonderful Australian culture only adds to the rise of the game. Australia has been good to me and I am thrilled to be able to give back in some small way.”
Philadelphia guard-forward and Melbourne native Ben Simmons was recently named 2018 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, following his debut season. His father, David, spent years playing professionally in the NBL for the Melbourne Tigers (currently Melbourne United; 1989-96), Newcastle Falcons (1997, 1998-99), Sydney Kings (1998) and Canberra Cannons (1999-2001). The elder Simmons led Melbourne to a league championship in 1993 and later saw his No. 25 retired by the Tigers.
Brown served as an assistant coach for the 1993 Melbourne title team. Brown coached in the NBL from 1988-98 and from 2000-02, including stints as the head coach of the North Melbourne Giants (1993-98) and Sydney Kings (2000-02). A two-time NBL champion as a head coach (1994 and 2002) and one-time NBL Coach of the Year (1994), Brown spent time as an assistant coach with the Australian national team between 1995 and 2003, before being tabbed the team’s head coach in 2009, a position he held until 2012. At the 2012 Olympics, Brown led the Boomers to the quarterfinals, where Australia was eliminated by the United States.
“The 76ers have strong, authentic connections to Australia and the growth of our fanbase there has been remarkable,” Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner Josh Harris said. “It’s an honor and privilege to host Melbourne United in Philadelphia, and we look forward to being a part of this unique convergence of the NBA and NBL.”
“We are fortunate to have a head coach in Brett Brown and dynamic young star in Ben Simmons who have rich histories and foundations in Australia,” Philadelphia 76ers Managing Partner David Blitzer said. “To have the chance to play Melbourne United in Philadelphia later this year is special not only for them, but for our entire organization. Interest in the 76ers brand has skyrocketed in new markets all over the world, especially Australia, and we embrace this opportunity to compete on this stage against such a respected NBL team.”
Five NBL teams, including the Adelaide 36ers, Melbourne United, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats and Sydney Kings, will play a total of seven games against NBA teams in the 2018 NBA preseason, including the Denver Nuggets, L.A. Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz, from Sept. 28-Oct. 5. This marks the most games NBA teams will play against teams from an international league in a single preseason.
There were a record-tying eight Australian players on 2017-18 opening night NBA rosters, including Simmons, Utah’s Joe Ingles and Danté Exum and former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut, who currently plays for the Sydney Kings. Seven Australian players were on team rosters for the 2018 NBA Playoffs and New Zealand’s Steven Adams for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fans can purchase NBA merchandise through NBAStore.com.au, the official online NBA Store in Australia. For all things NBA, visit www.sportingnews.com/au/nba and follow the NBA on Facebook and Twitter. For more on the NBL, fans can visit NBL.com.au.
Broadcast information will be announced at a later date.
ABOUT THE PHILADELPHIA 76ERS:
The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the most storied franchises in the National Basketball Association, having won three World Championships, earning nine trips to The Finals and making 48 playoff appearances over 69 seasons. The Philadelphia 76ers organization is a Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment property.
ABOUT THE NBA:
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League, set to launch in May 2018. The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2017-18 season featured 108 international players from a record 42 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League Pass. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.5 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
ABOUT THE NBL:
The National Basketball League in Australasia 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 and enjoyed record attendances and broadcast audiences last season. The NBL has NBL.com.au, and a live streaming NBL APP. The 2018-19 season will be its 41st as a league.
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