Salam dunk…

The UAE’s basketball fans were gifted with a court-length nothing-but-net scorcher in October of 2022. Two top-tier NBA teams, the Milwaukee Bucks (who also happen to be 2021 league champions) and the Atlanta Hawks, met in Abu Dhabi for a pair of pre-season friendlies. A region- first double shot baller fest which took place at Etihad Arena.

There’s been more basketball action since. FIBA 3×3 is a thrill-paced three-on-three basketball format, popularised and taken from the streets and urban blacktop courts — a grass roots tribute to balling, and as of Tokyo 2021, now officially an Olympic sport (an achievement, Abu Dhabi’s support had a big role to play in). And the 11th edition of the FIBA 3×3 World Tour Finals took place in Abu Dhabi between December 9 and 10, 2022.

In March 2023 we then had the announcement that USA Basketball would meet two other international teams, Germany and Greece as part of a three-match pre-World Cup warm-up event, in August (18 to 20) of this year.


And, announced today — Tuesday, May 2, 2023 by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT) at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) — we now know that the two teams taking part in the NBA pre season friendly this October will be the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves.

These games will once again take place at Etihad Arena, on Yas Island on October 5 and 7, 2023. The tickets aren’t on sale yet but you can register your interest on the NBA-events wesbite (there may even be presale options for those that have signed up).

The Dallas Mavericks, affectionately referred to as the Mavs are a member of the Western Conference Southwest Division of the NBA. They’ve played host to a number of Hall of Famers over the years, but their most famous alumni are probably Steve Nash and Dennis Rodman. They had a huge 2021-22 season, coming second in the Southwest grouping, and just losing out in the Conference Finals to the Golden State Warriors.

The Minnesota Timberwolves dunk in the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division and have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years.

Images: Provided