Everyone knows David Stern has his eye on global domination, whether it's building NBA-quality arenas in China or someday creating an actual NBA Europe division. While his dreams of permanent teams overseas are still just a fairy tale, he is willing to explore playing actual, meaningful games in Europe above and beyond their annual preseason tour. From the AP:
"Although we have no plans on the drawing board, it has been suggested to us that we should schedule in the next three years or so some regular-season games here - more than just one - on some regular basis," Stern said before the New Jersey Nets-Miami Heat preseason game at the O2 Arena. "It's fair to say that we'll see a minimum of one and possibly more regular-season games by 2012."
Stern sees the Olympics as a springboard to increasing the NBA's marketability in Britain, which is one of the richest countries in the world.
There's definitely precedent for Stern's vision -- after the Jazz and Suns kicked off the 1990-91 season by splitting a pair of games in Tokyo (don't miss Jack McCallum's great SI article about it), the NBA returned to Japan four more times over the next decade. Not every game played on foreign soil happened "overseas" -- in 1997, Mexico City hosted the Rockets and Mavericks for a midseason match. Reviving this tradition in Europe now, when the NBA features more foreign-born stars than ever, simply makes good sense.