- National Teams
The Atlanta Hawks are set to face the Brooklyn Nets in January as the NBA continues its international ventures during the regular season, and Atlanta Hawks Centre Al Horford can’t wait for the battle.
“I’m very excited; it will motivate people here and bring a good show. It will bring entertainment for the fans and I think they would appreciate and like that,” he said whilst attending the NBA 3X event at Ducketts Common in London this weekend.
“I think the approach the NBA has taken is a great one, they’re really trying to bring in the fan base internationally and promote our great game of basketball, we’re playing at a high level, and playing another regular season game here in London is a big deal for our league.
“They [Brooklyn] have a good team, for them this is going to be about how they get all that talent they have to work. It’s been proven that sometimes you can have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t work together it’ll be hard,” Horford said.
This will be then the 12th game in London featuring NBA teams, dating back to 1993, and the Hawks big man believes building an NBA Franchise in London is doable.
“Because of the travel I think it would be a challenge, but it’s not out of reach. I think that future NBA franchises here or in any other city in Europe would be embraced by the community and it would be a big deal, especially here.
“You guys would definitely have the best home court advantage though because everyone who comes here is going to be a bit jetlagged but I definitely think it’s a possibility. I’m used to travelling all over the place but I know there’s some guys who might have a harder time.”
Horford was in London to help promote the NBA3X three-on-three project as well as to talk about the upcoming regular season game in January and was quick to drum up support for his Atlanta team.
“Our main purpose is to promote the game, just being one of the current players in the NBA involved here and show a face and promote the Hawks. Hopefully when I come back in January a lot of people here will be cheering for the Hawks and not those ‘mean’ Brooklyn Nets.
“The Nets have a good opportunity [to challenge for a championship], I think it’s more down to how quickly they can bond as a team and if they can get everybody on the same page.”
The Hawks, who made the first round of the playoffs last season, recently lost power forward Josh Smith, and commenting before Atlanta had matched the Bucks’ 4 year $32million offer, Horford added:
“It’s tough, I think we all expected the Josh [Smith] thing, it was just time for him, he played with us before even I was there for like nine or ten years”
“With the Jeff Teague situation, the team has the right to match his offer and if they do then Jeff could be back with us. It’s just a matter of waiting.”
Al Horford and the Atlanta Hawks will play the Brooklyn Nets and The O2 on January 16 as part of the NBA Global Games 2014. Tickets go on sale in October. For more information go to NBA UK Facebook and follow @NBAUK.
Image Credit: NBAE/Getty Images