Ahead of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023, presented by ADQ at the Etihad Arena, and the two much-anticipated preseason matchups between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves, Arab News caught up with NBA legend Tim Hardaway Sr. to find out what he expects to go down on Thursday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 7.
Hardaway spoke on the UAE capital hosting NBA preseason games for the second consecutive year, and holding its inaugural International Basketball Week in August this year, which featured national teams preparing for the FIBA World Cup.
“I find it very exciting to witness the international growth of basketball, especially in the Middle East,” said Hardaway Sr., a five-time NBA All-Star with the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. “The game is making significant strides and becoming more accessible to fans around the world. Events like the International Basketball Week that took place a few months ago here in Abu Dhabi and the NBA games being played here are indeed exciting times for local fans.
“Any opportunity the team has to practice and prepare for the upcoming season will benefit the players. It’s a long season and I believe that, in the long run, all players will come together and develop that chemistry.”
A basketball Hall of Famer, Hardaway Sr. is the father of Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. When asked about his son’s chances of winning the championship next season, Hardaway Sr. was confident the Mavericks can experience success this year.
“Yes, I believe the Dallas Mavericks have a shot at winning the championship next season,” he said. “I think the Mavs have all the elements in their favor to be strong contenders for the title. Furthermore, they possess a not-so-secret weapon in Luka Doncic, who can lead the team to the NBA Playoffs. He is arguably one of the best players in the league right now and a serious candidate for the NBA MVP Award.”
Complementing the action in Abu Dhabi is the NBA District, a fan-centric event at Manarat Al-Saadiyat from Oct. 5 to 8. This interactive gathering, which welcomed nearly 10,000 fans last year, offers enthusiasts the chance to meet NBA legends, including Hardaway Sr. One person the NBA legend is looking forward to seeing during NBA Week is, unsurprisingly, his son.
“I do have a busy schedule, but we will definitely make an effort to spend some quality time together and acquaint ourselves with this beautiful city and all it has to offer,” Hardaway Sr. said. “I’m eagerly anticipating our exploration of Abu Dhabi; I’ve heard it’s a fantastic destination and I can’t wait to experience it.”
Taking place on Oct. 5 and 7 and tipping off at 8pm GST on Yas Island, tickets for the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 can still be purchased at etihadarena.ae and ticketmaster.ae.