Warriors, Wizards to travel to Japan for two preseason games prior to 2022-23 NBA season

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With less than a month to go in the regular season, things are really heating up in the NBA. Major honors such as MVP and the scoring title are still up for grabs, and seeding battles in both conferences figure to go down to the wire. We’ll then head straight into what should be a thrilling round of games in the playoffs. 

But while most are focused on the here and now, the folks at the league office are already planning for next season. On Monday, the NBA announced that the Global Games series will soon make its return. In late September, the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards will travel to Japan for two preseason games prior to the 2022-23 season. 

The games will be held on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 at the Saitama Super Arena, which hosted the basketball competitions during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. These will be the NBA’s first games outside of North America since the COVID-19 pandemic began and will be the league’s first trip to Japan since 2019. 

“We are honored to tip off the 2022-23 NBA season in Japan,” Warriors President & Chief Operating Officer Brandon Schneider said in a press release. “Throughout our four-plus year partnership with Rakuten, we’ve forged many deep, meaningful relationships in Japan. Participating in the upcoming NBA Japan Games gives us great optimism about the continued growth of basketball around the world and the opportunity to unite through a shared love of the game.”

The NBA’s history in Japan dates back to 1990 when the Phoenix Suns took on the Utah Jazz in what was then the first regular-season game played outside North America by a major U.S. sports league. In those 30-plus years, the NBA’s presence has grown steadily. 

In the 2019 NBA Draft, the Wizards selected Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 overall pick, making him the first Japanese-born player taken in the first round. His presence on the Wizards made them a natural choice to participate in these games.