Stern promises NBA preseason games in Brazil

David Stern is promising Brazilian fans they will soon have the

chance to watch NBA players in action in their own country.

The NBA commissioner said during a news conference Wednesday

that preseason games will be held in Brazil ”likely prior to the

2014 World Cup”, when Brazil will organize the showcase soccer

tournament.

”My backup position is prior to the Olympics,” Stern said of

the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. ”We are well aware of the World

Cup and Olympic expectations. And we expect to be following up on

that opportunity relatively shortly.”

Stern was speaking ahead of a preseason game between the New

York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves in Paris. He also said

the NBA would soon open an office in Brazil.

The NBA has been playing exhibition games in London and Paris

for several years and has expanded its European presence with the

first regular-season games scheduled for March in London. There

will also be exhibitions in China and Mexico in October.

The NBA has taken notice of the travel alert issued last week by

the U.S. government warning of potential terror threats in Europe,

Stern said.

”We have taken all the steps that we think are necessary to

ensure the safety of the traveling parties that we have here in

Europe,” Stern said. ”But we didn’t go into lockdown mode. In

other words, we let them enjoy the cities under our watchful

eyes.”

Stern said he met with French basketball officials to discuss

the possibility of staging a WNBA game in France.

”This appears to be a really good market for women’s

basketball, perhaps the best,” Stern said.