NBAThe British Basketball League, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and AEG, the owners and operators of the O2 Arena in London, England have reached an agreement to stage the BBL Trophy Final prior to the Toronto Raptors-New Jersey Nets game on March 5th.

The 02 Arena will be staging one of the biggest basketball events ever assembled in the UK, with over 50,000 spectators set to flock the UK’s premier indoor arena for the first NBA regular season games to be played outside North America.

The weekend feast of hoops, will bring an end to the programme of basketball development activities starting in London on Friday February 25th. “Basketball Week” will involve grassroots basketball development activities in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle.

BBL Chairman, Paul Blake is thrilled with the venture that gives British Basketball, more exposure, with the Sky Sports TV deal to add to this season’s list of much-needed achievements.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the BBL to work in partnership with the NBA, and to stage one of our major events Finals at the prestigious O2 Arena,” Blake announced.

“Basketball fans in the UK are going to be able to enjoy a feast of basketball, with two top British teams going head-to-head in the BBL Trophy Final, followed by a regular-season NBA game. We are delighted to be working with the NBA in promoting the two games, and I am sure basketball fans will respond with excitement. We are also committing jointly to staging some very exciting development activities in the lead-up to the games, taking the excitement of the events to the country.”

Guildford Heat are awaiting either Mersey Tigers or Newcastle Eagles in this year’s BBL Trophy Final, which will be followed by the main event of the second clash between the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets.

John Hobbs for