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Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

GB basketball teams to face US in 2012 warm-up

LeBron James
LeBron James will be among those hoping to appear in Manchester

Great Britain's men's and women's basketball teams will play the United States, the reigning Olympic champions, in two friendly matches in July 2012.

The games, which form part of their Olympic preparations, will be held at the Manchester Evening News Arena.

The men's contest could feature the likes of NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

The GB teams were recently given the go-ahead to compete at the 2012 Olympics by governing body Fiba.

The men's match will be part of the Global Community Cup, which includes all USA Basketball men's national team exhibition games played outside of formal international competitions.

The women's game could feature Women NBA stars Sue Bird, Angel McCoughtry and Diana Taurasi.

The GB national teams have made progress recent years with the men qualifying for two consecutive Eurobasket tournaments, in 2009 and 2011, and the women qualifying for Eurobasket 2011 for the first time in the team's history.

"I cannot think of a more exciting prospect for fans in the UK than to see Great Britain play the US in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics," said GB star Luol Deng.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo added: "The matches will be a terrific prelude to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

"The games are key components in the 2012 training plans for the US men's and women's national teams. I'm sure that both teams will feature some of basketball's best players and coaches and I'm confident the games will be memorable events for all basketball fans."

Manchester will host a series of premier basketball events in the coming years as part of a recently announced partnership between Manchester City Council, the NBA and USA Basketball.

Later this year, the GB women will play the WNBA side Atlanta Dream in Manchester as part of WNBA Live on 29 May.

The game will be the first match in Europe to involve a team from the WNBA.

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see also
GB's women face WNBA opposition
17 Mar 11 |  Basketball
GB teams to play at London 2012
13 Mar 11 |  Basketball
2012 Olympics schedule revealed
15 Feb 11 |  London 2012
GB men get tough EuroBasket draw
30 Jan 11 |  Basketball

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