NBA London 2019: NBA legends discuss their thoughts on the game and the upcoming season

NBA legends Richard Hamilton & Chauncey Billups took to the Coca-Cola London Eye to announce the NBA London Game 2019 between the New York Knicks & the Washington Wizards.

Tickets go on sale for the game which takes place at the O2 arena on Thursday January 17th 2019.With the release of tickets for the NBA London game between the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards coming next month. Legends of the game Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups visited the capital this week, soaking in the sights including the London Eye where they discussed their former teams’ chances heading into to the new season as well as the current state of the NBA. 

Rip Hamilton started his career in Washington as the ninth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. He played there for three years. In his last year he would team up with one of the greatest players of all time, Michael Jordan. Hamilton was then traded to Detroit ahead of the 2002-03’ season. In his nine-year stint with the Pistons he would be nominated to the All-Star game three times as well as helping the team to the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2004. 

Speaking of Hamilton’s legendary career, he was questioned as to who he thought was the better player – Michael Jordan or Lebron James?:

Hamilton: “Like I tell people, I’m an MJ fan. But then he’s been an idol of mine since I was a kid. I got an opportunity to play with him when he was older, but I still feel as though he was the best player that ever played the game of basketball. I mean 6-0 in the Finals, you can’t really say anything bad about that. A guy that took over the game and made other players better just like LeBron [James]. To compare those two guys is really unfair to LeBron because LeBron is totally different to MJ. LeBron is a freak of nature. It’s like Karl Malone playing the point guard position. He can dominate the game, not just by scoring but by passing, rebounds – he does so many great things on the floor. MJ was an offensive guy that really put pressure on you each and every time.”

Hamilton also discussed the prospect of an All-Star game being presented in the UK:

Hamilton: “It could! Now that they’ve extended the All-Star break. London is a great city, it kind of reminds me of New York, so there is a lot of great opportunities here and I think guys would be super excited to travel here to Europe so I think it will be something that would be pretty cool.”

Chauncey Billups was a journeyman throughout his 16-year career. Playing for 7 different franchises, Billups spent one season in the ‘Big Apple.’ He found most success in Detroit playing with Hamilton, where he won the NBA Finals MVP and was part of the championship winning ‘04 Piston team. 

Kristaps Porzingis has been on a meteoric rise since his debut in the NBA, however an injury halted his progress last season. Chauncey Billups spoke of his dynamic playing style and what he brings to this young team: 

Billups: “He certainly has a lot of talent. He was making his way up the ranks last year – I’m a huge fan myself. There is so much good young talent in the league right now. People will continue to develop and so will he. At 7ft 3in, doing what he can do is pretty remarkable. I’m looking forward to seeing him back healthy and showing that he wants to be the best. I’m really a huge fan.”

Speaking on the current state of the NBA, Billups doesn’t expect an underdog will have a chance this year, despite his shock championship win in a Piston jersey:

Billups: “I don’t, I think [the Warriors] are the clear favourites right now, at least for this season. But they will be pushed, there are some good teams like the Houston [Rockets] and the [Los Angeles] Lakers, who will be fighting to play against the Warriors. I’m intrigued with Boston [Celtics] and Toronto [Raptors] in the East, I think those teams can put some line-ups on the floor to make it interesting for the Warriors. I think the Warriors are the best team, but we will see.”

Both legends appear to be excited for the upcoming season and optimistic about how far the NBA can grow it’s market in Great Britain. 

Tickets for the NBA London Game 2019 will go on general sale Friday, Oct. 19 at 9 a.m. BST at www.axs.com/nbalondon. Fans can register their details at NBA.com/London to gain early access to a limited number of tickets via a presale to be held on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m. BST.

 

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Greg is a follower of basketball, baseball, ice hockey and American football as well as several other sports. He reads and writes about a range of topics, while supporting the Steelers, Red Sox, Knicks and Blackhawks. Twitter: @red_scox