Interactive fan event to mark NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

Interactive fan event to mark NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022
Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket during the game against the Atlanta Hawks last year. (Scott Cunningham/NBAE)
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Updated 17 September 2022

Interactive fan event to mark NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

Interactive fan event to mark NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022
  • Event features NBA legends Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas and Dominique Wilkins
  • ‘NBA Night in Abu Dhabi hosted by Shaq’ will celebrate first NBA games in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: The National Basketball Association and the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi have announced that NBA District, an immersive, interactive fan event, will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat in the UAE capital from Wednesday, Oct. 5 until Sunday, Oct. 9.

The event will mark the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, which will feature the Atlanta Hawks and 2021 NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks playing two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

The two games on Thursday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 8, are the league’s first games in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.

NBA District will showcase the music, media and art associated with basketball culture. Fans will be able to engage with NBA personalities from around the world, watch authentic NBA game entertainment, enjoy hands-on basketball activities, and purchase limited-edition merchandise. 

Programming will include:

  • Performances by the Milwaukee Bucks Dunk Team and mascot “Bango” and by the Atlanta Hawks Dance Team and mascot “Harry the Hawk”
  • Live art performances by UAE-based artist Mr. Dripping and NBA Lab Creative Director Billi Kid
  • Panels and workshops featuring current and former NBA players, global content creators, artists and entertainers
  • Hands-on basketball activities, including Jr. NBA clinics for boys and girls and the “NBA Ice Buckets” buzzer-beater competition for a chance to win tickets to the games
  • Photo opportunities with NBA personalities and authentic NBA memorabilia, including the Larry O’Brien Trophy
  • NBA-themed exhibitions and games
  • International and traditional Emirati food and beverages
  • Limited-edition NBA apparel and merchandise

“At Manarat Al Saadiyat, everyone can enjoy an immersive, exciting atmosphere watching the games live, as well as exhilarating basketball activities and entertainment acts,” said Director-General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi, Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al-Geziry.

“Hosting NBA District as part of the region’s first NBA games is another highly memorable moment for Abu Dhabi, as we continue to attract top-tier global sports, share our warm Emirati hospitality and showcase the destination’s many exciting, inspiring and relaxing experiences with the world.”

NBA Head of Fan Engagement and Direct-to-Consumer for Europe and the Middle East George Aivazoglou said: “Whether you are new to the NBA or a passionate fan, NBA District will offer a first-of-its-kind NBA experience in the heart of the city. 

“Featuring interactive basketball activities, authentic NBA game entertainment, appearances by NBA legends and more, NBA District will be a celebration of all things NBA and the perfect backdrop to our first games in Abu Dhabi,” he added.

The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 are part of a ground-breaking multiyear collaboration between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi that earlier this year saw the launch of the first Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, a youth basketball league for 450 boys and girls ages 11-14 from schools across Abu Dhabi. 

The collaboration also includes a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players, a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.