Heat and Spurs to play NBA regular season game in Mexico City

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It will probably be next week before we see the full NBA schedule, after Marc Stein. It’s later that the schedule is traditionally released, but with so many big names still potentially on the move, setting up a national TV schedule is a tricky puzzle (how many times you’ll feature the Brooklyns Nets will depend on where Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are playing, for example).

One thing we do know: The Heat will face the Spurs in a regular-season game Dec. 17 in Mexico City, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The NBA regularly played a few games in Mexico before the pandemic and this is a throwback to that tradition. The NBA also put a G-League team in Mexico City, the Capitanes, although it was unable to play home games there during the pandemic.

That December game will count as a Spurs home game; as an organization they are trying to expand their fanbase and footprint in Mexico.

Mexico City is one of the Western Hemisphere’s most underrated cities and tourist destinations, a sprawling metropolis bigger than New York, with fantastic art, culture, lush parks all over the city and – I’ll say from personal experience – street food as good as you will find anywhere. It is also a city and region where basketball is growing in popularity.

The challenge for players will be altitude: Mexico City sits 7,350 feet above sea level, more than a few thousand feet higher than Denver’s experience. Guys will get tired.

Expect the NBA to return to all of its efforts to make a global mark, playing preseason and regular season games around the world, as the pandemic wanes and life moves towards its new version of normal.

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