That thing we all really knew even though we didn't really know? It's really going to happen. The NBA release reads as follows:
NEW YORK and LONDON -- The National Basketball Association (NBA) will return to London with its third regular-season game in Europe featuring the three-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons and the two-time champion New York Knicks, the league announced today.
NBA London Live 2013 will take place on Jan. 17, 2013 at The O2 which will host its seventh NBA game, including four preseason games, since 2007. Tickets will go on sale on Oct. 30 at www.theo2.co.uk.
The game follows the league's first-ever regular-season games in Europe held in March 2011, which included a pair of sold-out contests between the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets also played at The O2. Following NBA London Live 2013, the NBA will have played a total of 115 games internationally since 1988, including 16 regular-season games in Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
"London was the epicenter of global sports this summer, and the Olympics were a tremendous showcase for basketball," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "Playing our third regular-season game in the city in three years and having historic franchises like the Knicks and Pistons serve as our ambassadors provide extraordinary opportunities to further the game's growth and development in the UK and throughout Europe."
"The Pistons are excited to participate in the NBA London Live 2013," said Dennis Mannion, President and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons. "Playing a regular-season game in London against the New York Knicks will provide a great experience for our players and we look forward to showcasing our brand of Hard, Smart and Together Detroit Basketball to fans on a global scale."
"I am excited to show our great fans in London what New York basketball is about," said New York Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson. "For Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to return to the city where they helped Team USA win the Gold makes it even more special for our team."
NBA London Live 2013 marks a continuation of the strong relationship between the NBA and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), owners of The O2. The 2012 NBA preseason includes two games at AEG venues in Istanbul (Ülker Sports Arena -- Oct. 5) and Berlin (O2 World -- Oct. 6) as part of NBA Europe Live presented by BBVATM.
"We are thrilled to host NBA London Live 2013 at The O2 in London as part of our ongoing partnership with the NBA globally," said Jay Marciano, President and CEO of AEG Europe. "Following the two regular-season games in London in 2011, and hosting NBA Europe Live games at the O2 World in Berlin and at the Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, we look forward to more exciting regular-season NBA action at The O2, the world's most popular venue."
The Knicks are led by 2012 Olympic gold medalists Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, six-time NBA All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire, and veterans Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd who joined the team this summer. The Detroit Pistons feature a young and exciting roster highlighted by center Greg Monroe, NBA All-Rookie first team selection Brandon Knight, NBA All-Rookie second team selection Rodney Stuckey, and center Andre Drummond, the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft presented by State Farm. The roster also includes 2004 NBA Champion Tayshaun Prince, and veterans Corey Maggette and Jason Maxiell.
The Knicks' most recent international trip was in 2010 when they played in preseason games in Milan, Italy and Paris, France as part of NBA Europe Live 2010. For the Detroit Pistons, NBA London Live 2013 will be their first-ever game in Europe.
The NBA became the first American professional sports league to stage regular-season games outside of North America when the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz opened the 1990-91 season with two games in Tokyo. Following NBA London Live 2013, 61 games featuring 26 NBA teams will have been played in 18 European cities since 1988.
NBA London Live 2013 also will mark the eighth NBA game held internationally this season, including the comprehensive slate of seven preseason games played as part of NBA Europe Live presented by BBVATM, NBA China Games, and NBA Mexico Game presented by BBVA Bancomer.
The 2012-13 NBA preseason will tip off in Europe where the Boston Celtics will play a pair of games in Istanbul and Milan (Oct. 5 and 7), and the Dallas Mavericks will play games in Berlin and Barcelona (Oct. 6 and 9) as part of NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA. NBA China Games 2012 will feature two games between the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing (Oct. 11) and Shanghai (Oct. 14), while NBA Mexico Game 2012 will feature the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets in Mexico City (Oct. 7).