For better or worse, the Detroit Pistons are officially international ambassadors for the NBA, playing a "home" game in London against the New York Knicks on Thursday, Jan. 17 at O2 Arena. Factoring in the five-hour time difference, the 8 p.m. tip-off in London will be a 3 p.m. matinee for fans in Detroit -- here's to hoping you get NBA TV at work.
After leaving Detroit late Monday, the Pistons arrived in London early this morning. Want to see video of tall guys walking through an airport? You're in luck:
Why were the Pistons selected to face the Knicks? A team that finished the last four years under .500? A roster that doesn't feature a single player among the East's top 25 listed in the latest All-Star balloting? These aren't rhetorical questions, please clue me in.
In any case, even some of the Pistons are confused -- or at the very least, not very excited about having their regular routine disrupted. From David Mayo of MLive.com:
"I don't want to see nothing in London, man," Bynum said. "I'm fine right over here. We could've played the game in Chicago. I don't really care."
The thing that is meaningful for Bynum is the presence of someone who actually is from Chicago, his mother, Rose Robinson.
"The trip's not really for me," Bynum said. "It's for my mom. Me, I'm just going there to work and do what I do best, play basketball. For me, I just enjoy the fact that my mom is going to be able to come and I get a chance to spend some time with her."
To be fair, not everyone is down on the trip -- Rodney Stuckey, Austin Daye and Greg Monroe gave the predictably honored/excited quotes in the same article above, as did Lawrence Frank below. From MLive's Brendan Savage:
"It's a privilege to go over there. You think about how the game has gone global if you want to trace it back to the Dream Team or how there are 78 foreign-born players (in the NBA). We have two (Jonas Jerebko and Slava Kravtsov).
"It's great to be able to share those experiences."
For more pics and tweets from the trip, Pistons.com has compiled a Storify: