The Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks face off in the UAE’s first NBA games


The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced Tuesday that the Atlanta Hawks and 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks will meet in Arabic at the landmark opening games in October will compete in golf.

Two historic pre-season games will be played on Thursday 6th October and Saturday 8th October 2022 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Franchise companies with names of stars were selected for the first duels in the region.

The Hawks currently consist of two-time NBA All-Star Trae Young, 2020-21 NBA rebound leader Clint Capela, and 2018 NBA All-Rookie Second Team members John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Bucks currently consist of two-time Kia NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, three-time NBA All-Star Khris Middleton and three-time NBA All-Defensive Team member Jrue Holiday.

Adding added prestige, the two teams met in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals, with the Bucks winning their first NBA championship in 50 years.

“We have two great teams,” said Ralph Rivera, Managing Director of NBA Europe and Middle East, during the unveiling at the Arabian Travel Market at Dubai’s World Trade Centre.

“The Reigning NBA Champions with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.”

He added, “It’s the complete NBA experience.

“Yes, the best players in the world play great. The athletics don’t get any better.

“But the NBA is also about entertainment in the arena. Whether it’s our mascots, our hype crews…

“It’s also a great experience for children. Then there is everything that will happen in Abu Dhabi during the week outside the arena.

“We will have youth clinics, NBA Cares. A lot will happen there.”

Tickets for the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will go on sale at a later date. Fans can express their interest in more information about the 2022 NBA Abu Dhabi Games, including exclusive pre-sale access and additional benefits, by visiting

The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will be streamed live in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East and North Africa on beIN SPORTS, The Sports Channel and NBA League Pass, the league’s premium subscription service for live games. The games will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories around the world through television, digital media and social media.

The 2022 NBA Abu Dhabi Games is part of a groundbreaking multi-year partnership between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi, which saw the launch earlier this year of the inaugural Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, a youth basketball league for 450 boys and girls aged 10 and up 11 to 14 years from local schools across Abu Dhabi.

The partnership also includes a variety of interactive fan events featuring performances by current and former NBA players, a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibit event at Middle East Film & Comic Con.

The partnership also sees DCT Abu Dhabi serving as the NBA’s official tourism destination partner in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China as part of “Visit Abu Dhabi”, the capital of the United Arab Emirates’ tourism promotion initiative.

“The Games are extremely important to the growth of the sport,” Rivera said. “The opportunity to host games for our fans here in the United Arab Emirates, but also the opportunity for fans in the region to be able to come.

“Less than one percent of our fans actually attend NBA games. You watch them on TV.

“Having the games in the region is priceless. Lifelong memories are created.

“Also, we will attract new fans through the excitement, visibility and opportunity for kids to participate.”

More than 220 male and female prospects from the Middle East – including five players from the UAE – have attended Basketball Without Borders (BWB), or the NBA Academy, the league’s elite basketball development programs for top prospects from outside the continent since 2019 USA 500 boys and girls have also attended the NBA Basketball School Dubai (UAE), a year-round, classroom-based basketball development program for boys and girls ages 6-18.

“We are thrilled to host the UAE’s inaugural NBA games in Abu Dhabi and look forward to welcoming the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and basketball fans from around the world to discover this incredible city and our authentic Emirati culture experience for yourself,” he said to DCT Abu Dhabi Director General HE Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry.

“Basketball has the ability to unite communities, and the spirit of the game will be felt by players and spectators both on and off the court. The unveiling of the NBA teams marks an important milestone in our broader partnership with this world-class esports organization.”

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fosters economic progress and contributes to realizing Abu Dhabi’s broader global ambitions. Working in partnership with the organizations that define the emirate’s position as a leading international travel destination, DCT Abu Dhabi aspires to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate’s potential, coordinating efforts and investments, delivering innovative solutions and the best tools to use. Strategies and systems to support the culture and tourism industry.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation and unparalleled experiences, represented by its vibrant heritage of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thinking.

For more information about DCT Abu Dhabi and the destination, visit and For Abu Dhabi calendar, please visit

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