NBA

Raptors to play pair of pre-season games in Japan ahead of 2020 Olympics

Toronto and Houston will play a pair of pre-season games in Japan next season. The NBA announced Monday night that the Raptors and Rockets will play on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 at the Saitama Super Arena.

Toronto will play Houston at Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo

The Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets will square off in a pair of pre-season games ahead of the 2019-2020 season, the NBA announced on Monday. (Eric Christian Smith/The Associated Press)

Toronto and Houston will play a pair of pre-season games in Japan next season.

The NBA announced Monday night that the Raptors and Rockets will play on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 at the Saitama Super Arena, near Tokyo.

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 organization 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. We are looking forward to sharing that with basketball fans in Japan."

There have been two Japanese-born players in the NBA. Yuta Tabuse played in four games for Phoenix in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe has appeared in 10 games with Memphis this season.

Houston played two games in Japan in 1992.

"Our organization has a great appreciation for our global fan base, and we enthusiastically embrace the NBA's efforts to grow the game internationally," Rockets CEO Tad Brown said.

The NBA also has pre-season games planned for India and China next season. Indiana and Sacramento will play in India, the NBA's first-ever games there. Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers will play in China.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.