Now that Mexico City has hosted NBA games for over three decades, the city (and country) is eager for an NBA franchise of its own — and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appears happy to oblige.
Silver held a press conference prior to last week's NBA regular season contest between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic in Mexico City, which was part of the league's NBA Global Games initiative. According to NBA.com, out of the 10 questions Silver received during the press conference, eight had to do with a potential expansion franchise in Mexico City — and Silver's answers added to the expansion intrigue.
"We think there's an enormous opportunity to continue growing the game of basketball here in Mexico City and throughout the country," Silver said during the press conference. "And we also see this as a gateway essentially to the rest of Latin America."
While Silver did go on to say that the NBA is "not in expansion mode at the moment," he also reiterated that an eventual move to Mexico City is "very doable."
Doable indeed. Aside from Canada, the 32 games — 19 preseason games and 13 regular-season contests — that Mexico City has hosted since 1992 are by far the most NBA action that a non-U.S. city has received.
Then there are Mexico's other basketball-related developments in recent years. They include the NBA Academy Latin America, which is one of the NBA's full-service facilities to attract and develop international talent. Plus there's the Mexico City Capitanes, an NBA G-League team that is about to begin its third season and has gained a massive local fan base.
Mexico City also has the perfect venue for an NBA expansion franchise: its state-of-the-art arena, officially called the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. It was sold out for last week's game between the Hawks and Magic.
All of these factors make Mexico City the perfect place for the NBA's next expansion franchise whenever Silver decides it's time to do so.
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In addition to Mexico, Silver also said during the press conference that he views two Canadian cities — Vancouver and Montreal — as excellent expansion destinations.
"[Canada] has become a great basketball market," Silver said. "I will say the Toronto Raptors have done a good job ... of making themselves Canada's team. I know there's interest from Montreal. There's still ongoing interest in Vancouver."
So although NBA expansion appears to be a few years away at least, Silver has earned a reputation for always looking toward the future — and he seems to have Canada and Mexico City in his sights.
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