The first NBA games in the United Arab Emirates will take place next preseason, the league announced Tuesday.
The NBA and the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi have agreed to a multiyear partnership, starting with two preseason contests next year.
The two exhibitions will take place in Abu Dhabi in October 2022. The participating NBA teams and host venue will be announced at a later date.
"Hosting NBA and NBA 2K League games and events in Abu Dhabi builds on our commitment to growing basketball around the world," NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum said. "Through this partnership, we will bring the authentic NBA experience to fans in the UAE and support basketball development in the region by providing more opportunities for young boys and girls to learn and play the game."
This will not be the first time NBA games are played in the Middle East. Four NBA teams have previously played in six exhibition games in Tel Aviv, Israel, against Israeli professional clubs.
There are currently seven players from the Middle East in the NBA -- Turkey's Alperen Sengun (Houston Rockets), Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers), Enes Kanter (Boston Celtics), Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers) and Omer Yurtseven (Miami Heat), Israel's Deni Avdija (Washington Wizards) and Egypt's Abdel Nader (Phoenix Suns).
The new partnership will also include appearances by former and current NBA players at interactive fan events, the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues for boys and girls at schools across the UAE, NBA FIT Clinics promoting health and wellness and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.