Raptors, Rockets to play in Japan next pre-season

MIAMI (AP) — Toronto and Houston will play a pair of pre-season games in Japan next season.

The NBA announced that the Raptors and Rockets will play on October 8 and October 10 at the Saitama Super Arena.

The NBA played 12 regular-season games in Japan between 1990 and 2003. These pre-season matchups will be the first time the league has returned to Japan since.

“Bringing NBA preseason games to Japan will help accelerate the growth of basketball in a country that features a thriving sports culture and one of the world’s largest economies,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

The pre-season games will come about nine months before the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There are pro leagues in Japan, and the nation is one of the 32 teams that will appear in the FIBA World Cup in China this summer.

“You have only to look at our organisation to know that we truly believe basketball is a global game,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “We come from all over the world, and we are all connected through the love of our sport.”

Japanese Internet company Rakuten President and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani (L) speaks via video call with Commissioner of NBA Adam Silver on the screen. – AP