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NZ Breakers to face NBA teams in October

NZ Breakers NBA preseason basketball
The NZ Breakers will head to the USA for two games against NBA teams in October. PHOTO: NZ BREAKERS

The NZ Breakers will face NBA opponents for the fourth time in six years this October.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Australian National Basketball League (NBL) announced on Wednesday the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder will host the NZ Breakers for preseason games.


It marks the sixth time in eight years that an ANBL team will travel to the US to participate in the NBA preseason.

The Breakers, who will be playing their sixth and seventh preseason NBA games, will face the Jazz on Saturday, October 5 (NZ Time) at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, followed by a matchup against the Thunder on Friday, Oct 11 (NZT) at BOK Center in Tulsa.

“The ANBL-NBA games have become a highlight and visual representation of the strong connection we have with the NBA,” said ANBL chief operating officer and head of basketball operations Vince Crivelli.

“These games also continue to position our teams and athletes alongside the very best our sport has to offer globally. Our relationship with the NBA continues to grow and evolve, and we look forward to working on more exciting initiatives in the future.

"The Breakers are a wonderful organisation with a proud history of success and have really embraced these games, and we wish them all the best against the Jazz and Thunder.

The games will mark the Jazz’s sixth preseason meeting against an ANBL team and the Thunder’s fourth.

“It has been tradition for the NZ Breakers to fly stateside and compete against the very best in the NBA and we are proud to continue our association with the best basketball league in the world,” said Breakers owner Matt Walsh.

“It started in 2019 against the Phoenix Suns and we’ve since had games against the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers. We look forward to flying to the USA in October and resuming our rivalry with the Jazz and Thunder.”

“Hosting ANBL teams for preseason games in the US is part of our commitment to engaging the passionate basketball fans in Australia and New Zealand and working with other top leagues around the world,” said Rajah Chaudhry, NBA Asia head of strategy.

“These matchups have become a fixture of the NBA calendar and a tremendous opportunity to spotlight ANBL talent to a global audience, and we look forward to two competitive games when the Breakers visit the Jazz and Thunder in October.”

The Thunder currently feature two-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA First Team member Shai Gilgeous Alexander, 2024 All-Rookie First Team member Chet Holmgren, and former Breakers ANBL 'Next Star' Ousmane Dieng.

The Jazz currently feature 2023 NBA All-Star Lauri Markkanen, 2021 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson and 2023 NBA All-Rookie First Team member Walker Kessler.

To date, nine 'Next Stars' have been drafted directly from the ANBL to the NBA, including Dieng, Josh Giddey (Chicago Bulls), LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets), and 2024 No 2 overall pick Alex Sarr (Washington Wizards).

A record four 'Next Stars' were selected in the 2024 NBA Draft, including Sarr, AJ Johnson (Milwaukee Bucks), Bobi Klintman (Detroit Pistons) and Ariel Hukporti (New York Knicks).


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