EuroLeague-NBA tension set to derail Panathinaikos’ centennial plans
Poor relations between the EuroLeague Basketball Company and the National Basketball Association could derail Panathinaikos’ plans for a friendly with an NBA club.
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Panathinaikos’ plans to celebrate the basketball club’s 100th anniversary might have fallen to the wayside due to rocky relations between the EuroLeague and the NBA.
The Panathinaikos brass are keen to schedule a friendly at the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall with an NBA club to mark the basketball club’s centennial during next season. Unfortunately, the club’s plans are likely to fall through due to a rumored tension between the EuroLeague and the NBA.
The tension is reportedly due to a fallout between the two sides following the Oklahoma City Thunder’s tour of Spain, in which the NBA club took on Real Madrid and Barcelona in October 2016.
The tension is reportedly the reason that the NBA chose to schedule friendlies with non-EuroLeague teams this past season as NBA teams hosted opponents from Israel, Australia, and China last season.
Panathinaikos have faced an NBA club three times; most recently in October 2007 when the Trifylli went on a tour of Texas and played the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs in two lopsided defeats.
Panathinaikos first faced NBA opposition when the Athenians were invited to Canada to take on the Toronto Raptors in 2003 for what was known as the first-ever international version of the Naismith Cup. The Raptors went on to defeat Panathinaikos on an eventful night that saw Toronto’s Air Canada Centre lose power in the dying moments of the game.
Panathinaikos’ archrivals, Olympiacos, have also faced NBA opposition on three occasions with the Piraeus giants first facing the Chicago Bulls in 1997 after Olympiacos’ EuroLeague triumph. Like Panathinaikos, Olympiacos are winless against NBA opposition including when the Erythrolefki completed a tour of the United States in 2009 against the likes of the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers.