NBA makes European tour official

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\ The NBA officially announced what had been reported weeks ago by the Associated Press that the Wizards will take part in this fall’s NBA Europe Live 2008 tour presented by EA Sports.\

\ The Wizards, Hornets, Nets and Heat are the four teams selected for this year’s tour. It will be the third consecutive year the league has played preseason games overseas. \

\ The Wizards will play the Hornets twice: In Berlin on Oct. 14 and in Barcelona on Oct. 17.\

\ Wizards coach Eddie Jordan and Gilbert Arenas talked about playing overseas this fall. Excerpts follow:\

\ Jordan:\ “We are very excited about the opportunity to play the New Orleans Hornets in the preseason, and in the 2008 2009 season. We think it’s going to be a great experience for our team and our franchise on the floor, as well as off the floor. We’re really looking forward to bringing really exciting basketball to the preseason to Berlin and to Barcelona.”\

\ Arenas:\ “I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, you know, for two young upcoming teams in the NBA to go out of the country to Berlin and Barcelona to show off their skills and their talent.\

\ “When you’re growing up, you never think you’ll experience something like this, you know, playing out of the country on an NBA team and I think it’s going to be great for both teams and both franchises.”\

\ Q: There’s been a lot of talk about international expansion, European expansion. Given the cultural and travel problems that would involve, what would a player’s take on that prospect be?\

\ Jordan: “You know, that’s actually the only problem that the players are concerned with, you know, traveling. We hate traveling from East to West, and that’s six or seven hours.\

\ “So we can’t imagine flying ten, 12, 13 hours to go play a basketball game. That’s something they are going to have to show to us that, hey, the first team that actually happens, we’ll see what happens. But until then, that’s our biggest concern, that time flight that we’ll be taking.”\

\ Q. Hypothetically, in a couple of years time, if you were traded to a team in London or Berlin or coming out of college, if you were drafted to a team in Rome or Madrid, what would your response be having to make your living over in Europe?\

\ Arenas: “You know, it depends what kind of hindsight you have. You have to have hindsight, where you’re going to a city where they are going to have a new team where you become a mega-superstar over there. I look at it like soccer, those are the countries with the biggest fans.\

\ “So you have going over there and embrace the life and embrace the team you’re playing for.”\

\ — Mike Jones

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