Kevin Durant Wants To Return To Manchester As Thunder, 76ers Play U.K. Preseason Game
The "NBA circus" rolled into Manchester, England Tuesday night to "lay on a thrilling basketball party," according to Anthony Jepson of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. All-Star Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City "put on a show for the Manchester Arena crowd." While the preseason game between two teams from "the biggest and best league on the planet didn’t quite have the same cache or pulling power" as the U.S. vs. Great Britain football game last year, NBA chiefs "are happy their relationship with Manchester has proved a valuable means of spreading their basketball message internationally." However, while the event "wasn’t a sell-out and concerns had been voiced about the cost of some tickets," around 13,000 turned out "for a taste of the American sporting experience -- mascots, cheerleaders and all." Durant "thinks the city deserves a regular-season NBA game -- and wants to be a part of it." Durant: "It is a great atmosphere here and the fans have been unbelievable. They deserve to have a regular-season game here. It’s been to London and hopefully they expand it and I’d love us to be one of those teams that came back" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 10/9).
STAR-STUDDED COURTSIDE: In London, Jamie Jackson reported in between the first and second quarters, Rumble, an "anthropomorphic" bison who has his own website, searched out ManU's Rio Ferdinand and "in mock adoration knelt before him to ask for an autograph," which he "duly furnished." There were also "humorous boos" when Man City's Jack Rodwell was shown on the big screen and "a loud cheer" when former ManU player Andy Cole "was featured during the opening quarter." The NBA "got the grandstand finish it hoped for," with the Thunder winning 103-99 (GUARDIAN, 10/8). Also in London, Sheen & Upal reported ManU "teenage sensation" Adnan Januzaj and teammates David de Gea and Ferdinand "were among the star-studded cast who spent a night of the international break watching some of the finest basketball players on the planet." ManU's Darren Fletcher and Cole "were also among the crowd," while Man City's Patrick Vieira "flew the City flag" alongside Rodwell. EPL side Hull City's Curtis Davies, Tom Huddestone and Jake Livermore were also "at the game." The "biggest cheer" was reserved for Manchester’s own John Amaechi, "one of the first British stars to play in the world’s best basketball league" (DAILY MAIL, 10/8).