NBA Legend Robert Parish toured The O2 today to see the construction progress of the O2 Arena which will play host to the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS™ this autumn. He was joined by London Olympic hopeful Luke Power, aged 15 years old from Eltham Green Sports College. The pair surveyed what will become the biggest and most state-of-the-art basketball arena in Europe when it opens in July 2007; a venue that will also host the Olympic Basketball finals in 2012. The NBA will host the first basketball game to be held in the new arena with an exhibition match at The O2 on Wednesday 10th October. Tickets for the event are on sale now and are available to book through www.theo2.co.uk or by calling 0871 984 00 02. The Boston Celtics, led by five-time NBA All-Star Paul Pierce, are one of the founding teams of the NBA having won a record 16 NBA Championships, three in the Robert Parish era. The Minnesota Timberwolves are sure to bring intensity and excitement to the game in the UK’s capital, behind the spectacular play of 2004 NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Garnett. Philip Beard, CEO of The O2, commented: “There has never been a stronger appetite here for American sports, with more than 12,000 tickets being sold for NHL only one week from the on-sale date, and similar successes expected for the NBA game. It’s a fantastic honour to welcome Robert and Luke to the venue today, and we look forward to hosting some of the best basketball teams in the world at our state of the art new arena in the autumn.” “We are thrilled to be bringing the excitement of the NBA back to London as part of the 2007 NBA Europe Live Tour” said Andrew Messick, NBA Senior Vice President International. “It is only fitting that the game be staged at the best arena in Europe – UK fans are in for a real treat.” “EA SPORTS and the NBA share a passion for basketball,” said Jan Bolz, Vice President, International Sales and Marketing at EA. “We’re excited to bring the NBA Europe Live tour to the UK this year, creating a common platform for fans to enjoy the world’s best real and virtual basketball under one roof.” James Bidwell, Chief Executive of Visit London, said: “NBA Basketball is a spectacle that everyone can enjoy, from die-hard sports fans to anyone looking for somewhere to take the kids. The fact that The O2 has scooped yet another world class event to take place in London is another jewel in the crown for this prestigious new venue. Coming hot on the heels of announcements about the National Hockey League and the NFL, the list of major sporting events that London can boast this year is growing all the time”. NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS™ will also visit the Italian cities of Rome and Treviso; Spanish cities Madrid and Malaga; as well as the Turkish city of Istanbul this autumn. After the 2007 NBA Europe Live Tour, NBA teams will have played 41 games in 15 cities throughout Europe over the past two decades. The inaugural NBA Europe Live visited seven cities in five countries and drew more than 36 million viewers, 115,000 spectators, and 18 marketing partners in October 2006.