Bucks and Hawks will play two preseason games in Abu Dhabi


The Atlanta Hawks and defending champion Milwaukee Bucks will play two NBA preseason games against each other in Abu Dhabi at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island, in what will be the first NBA games in the United Arab Emirates.

The NBA and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism announced that the 2021 NBA champions Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks will play those two friendly matches on Thursday, October 6 and Saturday, October 8, 2022, at the ‘NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022’.

Both teams met in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Bucks winning their first NBA championship in 50 years. Now they will repeat the duel in the first meetings between NBA franchises in the Persian Gulf.

These ‘NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022’ are part of the multi-year agreement between the competition and the Emirati country’s tourism department, which among other assets includes the launch of the first Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, a youth basketball league for 450 boys and girls aged 11-14 from local schools in Abu Dhabi.

Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said the NBA continues to do an “incredible” job of growing the competition internationally. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the first NBA games in Abu Dhabi,” he acknowledged.

For his part, the president of the Milwaukee Bucks, Peter Feigin, added that they feel “honored” to have been chosen for this mini-tour. “As the NBA continues to expand globally, we look forward to visiting Abu Dhabi and furthering the league’s goals of inspiring people through basketball. We will be proud to represent our city,” he said.

NBA Europe and Middle East general manager Ralph Rivera said bringing the Hawks and Bucks to the Emirates is an “important milestone” in the NBA’s global growth. “We look forward to engaging fans through a variety of interactive events and giving back to the local community through NBA Cares initiatives and youth development clinics that will teach boys and girls the sport and its values,” he added.

For his part, the general director of tourism in Abu Dhabi, HE Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, was “delighted” to be the venue for the first NBA games in the region. “We look forward to welcoming the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and basketball fans from around the world to discover this incredible city and experience our authentic Emirati culture for themselves. Basketball has the ability to bring communities together, and players and visitors will feel the spirit of the game, both on and off the pitch,” he assured.