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Page last updated at 19:17 GMT, Tuesday, 6 October 2009 20:17 UK

NBA eyes meaningful London games

Chicago Bulls celebrate their last-second win over Utah Jazz in London

Video - Bulls beat Jazz on the buzzer in London

The NBA could play regular-season games in London from as early as next season as basketball looks to widen its appeal ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.

The O2 Arena hosted its third pre-season match, between Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, on Tuesday and NBA chiefs want to use the Docklands venue again.

"We're running out of runway a little bit but we still hope to do it," NBA commissioner David Stern insisted.

"Who knows? We have not set the schedule yet for 2010 so we'll see."

Basketball now ranks as the second most popular international team sport behind football but has not fared well in Britain compared to mainland Europe, where there is a large following.

606: DEBATE

Tuesday's match is the third to be staged at the O2 and Stern has called for governing body Fiba to further boost the sport in the UK by giving the team a wild-card entry into next year's World Championships in Turkey.

Technically, GB qualify for the London Olympics as hosts but Fiba has said they must prove they are worthy of a place and they failed to qualify for the Worlds on merit after a group-stage exit from September's European Championships.

"The run-up to 2012 is very exciting for the growth of basketball in Great Britain," Stern said.

"Team GB qualified for EuroBasket and we hope that, in its wisdom, Fiba sees fit to give it a wild card."



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see also
Deng inspires Bulls to London win
06 Oct 09 |  Basketball
US 'Dream Team' eye London game
06 Oct 09 |  Basketball
Deng looking forward to home game
05 Oct 09 |  Basketball
Bulls coach eyes NBA Europe teams
24 Sep 09 |  Basketball
NBA basketball eyes global expansion
26 Jan 09 |  Business


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