Steph Curry dribbles up the court in a preseason game agains the Washington Wizards in Japan.
Takashi Aoyama via Getty Images

The NBA Preseason Brings Pro Hoops to Basketball-Less Cities, But More Deserve a Chance


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Only 30 cities across the United States get to experience NBA basketball on a regular basis. But what about Jimmy? The Hawks fans who lives in Alabama. What about Kate? The Blazers fan who lives in Edmonton. What about Gus? The Timberwolves fan who lives in Iowa. Surely, they would love to see their teams play without straying too far from home.

They can thanks to the NBA's preseason. While MLB's Spring Training is a winter getaway in Arizona and Florida and the NFL's preseason is conducted like the regular season, the NBA gives fans, both domestic and international, a chance to see the best hoopers on the planet in their neck of the woods.

This year, the preseason kicked off with the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards in Japan, but there are several games in non-NBA markets in the U.S. and Canada alike.

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The 2022 NBA Preseason Schedule

Steph Curry warms up before a preseason game against the Washington Wizards in Japan.

Clicks Images via Getty Images

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First things first, I love that the NBA gives fans an opportunity to see the best hoopers in the world outside of major markets. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Chicago Bulls played at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska when I was in college, and it was thrilling seeing pros play on our home court. (Props to the NHL for doing this as well.)

In fact, Bleacher Report writer Robert Kleeman pleaded his case that all preseason games should be played in non-NBA markets back in 2010. His main reasoning is globalizing the sport -- which the league continues to do by playing games in London, Paris, Mexico City and Japan -- but he also argued NBA-less cities in the United States should see more preseason action. Cities like Kansas City, Tulsa, Las Vegas, Boise, Birmingham have the venues to host NBA games. Fans in those cities would value seeing NBA basketball -- preseason or not -- more than fans in NBA cities who get to see 41 games per year.

Of course, it all boils down to money. NBA governors rely on home games for revenue, and even though preseason home games aren't flooding with fans, it's still something. I'm not sure the cut each team receives when they play in a non-NBA city, but I assume its less than what they make at home games otherwise they would do it more. I tend to agree with Kleeman, though. The NBA could distinguish themselves from the other three major sports by playing all their preseason games in cities hungry for pro hoops.

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Anyway, you can find the full preseason schedule here, but here are the games in non-NBA markets.

September 30th

Teams: Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards

Venue: Saitma Super Arena

Location: Satima, Japan

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Teams: Maccabi Ra'anana vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Venue: Climate Pledge Arena

Location: Seattle, Washington

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October 2nd

Teams: Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards

Venue: Saitma Super Arena

Location: Satima, Japan

 

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Teams: Utah Jazz vs. Toronto Raptors

Venue: Rogers Place

Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

October 3rd

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

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Venue: Climate Pledge Arena

Location: Seattle, Washington

October 5th

Teams: Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Venue: BOK Center

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Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

 

Teams: Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Venue: T-Mobile Arena

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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

October 6th

Teams: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks

Venue: Etihad Arena

Location: Yas Island, Abu Dabi

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Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Venue: T-Mobile Arena

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

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October 7th

Teams: Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Hornets

Venue: Greensboro Coliseum Fieldhouse

Location: Greensboro, North Carolina

October 8th

Teams: Atlanta Hawks vs. Milwaukee Bucks

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Venue: Etihad Arena

Location: Yas Island, Abu Dabi

October 12th

Teams: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Venue: Toyota Arena

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Location: Ontario, Canada

October 14th

Teams: Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors

Venue: Bell Centre

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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Teams: Atlanta Hawks vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Venue: Legacy Arena

Location: Birmingham, Alabama

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All Eyes on Seattle and Las Vegas

 general shot of the Climate Pledge Arena sign and the Space Needle after an NHL game between the New York Rangers and the Seattle Kraken

Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Looks like Seattle, Las Vegas, Greensboro, Tulsa and Birmingham are the domestic winners this year. Seattle and Vegas are the closest non-NBA cities to NBA cities, so it's no surprise to see them hosting. Don't be surprised if we see the NBA's 31st team in Vegas sooner than later.

Greensboro, Tulsa and Birmingham are good stops, but the league should do more. Imagine pros playing in historic college arenas like Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina and Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. There are smarter people in the league office who have probably thought of this. It's called trickle-down brainstorming.

All in all, more basketball in pro-basketball-less cities will never be a bad thing.

MORE: 10 Possible NBA Expansion Cities that Make the Most Sense