For 30 years, the NBA has played games in Mexico and a new showdown is underway in the country.
The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will meet in Mexico City on December 17 (5 p.m. ET, NBA TV) in the first of two Global Games this season and the 12th regular season contest hosted by the country.
The NBA has played 117 international games (84 preseason games and 33 regular season games) with the inaugural game taking place in 1984. Countries around the world have hosted these global games, including the Bahamas (one), Canada (one) , Dominican Republic (one), Philippines (one), Brazil (two), India (two), Italy (two), Spain (two), Taiwan (two), United Arab Emirates (two), Germany (three), France (five), England (16), Japan (16), China (25) and Mexico (30).
The first NBA game in Mexico took place on October 27, 1992, when the Houston Rockets beat the Dallas Mavericks in a preseason game. Since then, 18 preseason games and 11 regular season games have been played in Mexico, which leads the way as the international host of the NBA.
The last time the NBA Global Games were played in Mexico was in December 2019, when the Mavericks beat the Detroit Pistons on December 12 and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Phoenix Suns in overtime on December 14.
Of the 30 NBA games played in Mexico, 28 have been played in Mexico City and two in Monterrey. The last 12 contests have been held at the Arena Ciudad de México, which will host the match on Saturday.
Below is a look at some of the standout performances and team brands that have taken place at the Mexico City games.
Notable performances in Mexico
Throughout the history of NBA games in Mexico, there is one performance that stands out from the rest. The last time Mexico hosted the Global Games in December 2019, Luka Doncic put on a performance that NBA fans in Mexico won’t soon forget. Being one of the best international stars in the NBA, Doncic did not shy away from the international audience. The Slovenian guard scored 42 points over the Pistons and added 12 rebounds and 11 assists in the 16th triple-double of his career.
Doncic’s performance in Mexico City was not only one of his best games of the season, but a top individual performance from no NBA player during the 2019-20 season. Throughout that season, there were only five instances in which a player recorded a 40+ point triple-double. Doncic is the only player to record a triple-double in Global Games competition, and his performance is the second-highest point total in a Global Games.
The Mexico City crowd marveled at Doncic’s behind-the-back dribbling crosses, no-look alley-oop dime and deep 3-pointers. He enjoyed being the showman in Mexico, often sporting a smile after wowing the crowd with his signature moves. Doncic gave NBA fans in Mexico a taste of the league’s incredible star power.
Other notable performances include Devin Booker scoring 39 points twice (January 12, 2017 and January 14, 2017), Kawhi Leonard scoring 38 points, four rebounds and three assists (January 14, 2017), Michael Finley tying a run then. -high 35 points to go along with seven rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one steal (December 6, 1996) and Charles Barkley scoring 19 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block (December 6, 1996 ) ).
The best team records in Mexico
The Suns and Mavericks are tied for the most regular season games played in Mexico with three each. The Magic and Rockets are undefeated with two wins in Mexico.
The New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets have played in the most Global Games overall (seven) and are 4-3. The Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder have played five games each and are 4-1.
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are the only undefeated teams to have played multiple Global Games, both 2-0.
The best moments of the NBA Mexico
The first meeting south of the NBA border in October 1992 featured the Rockets and the Mavericks. NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon wowed the crowd with his dunks and plays. This game marked the beginning of the effort to globalize the game in Mexico.
The Rockets and Mavericks returned to Mexico for the first NBA regular season game in the country in December 1997. The Rockets narrowly defeated the Mavericks, 108-106, thanks to Charles’ 19 points and 17 rebounds. Barkley. Mavericks guard/forward Michael Finley tied his career-high 35 points, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Rockets. After the narrow victory, Barkley tossed the ball into the stands in ecstasy.
In a preseason matchup between the Spurs and Clippers in 2010, Gary Neal hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining, leading the Spurs to a 100-99 victory.
In 2017, Leonard and Booker had a memorable duel in which they traded buckets down the stretch when Booker dunked off Leonard’s 3-pointer. Overall, Booker scored 39 points to Leonard’s 38 as the Suns won, 108-105.
On December 17, the Spurs and the Heat will celebrate 30 years of the NBA playing in Mexico. The game will be a stark reminder of the NBA’s international ties, as the league’s top talent will be on display as the game becomes even more global.