Austin Rivers: London ‘a dope spot’ for Washington Wizards to play

Austin Rivers (NBA/Getty Images)

Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers is delighted to head to London this winter as part of the NBA London 2019 festivities – hailing the city as ‘a dope spot’.

Rivers was traded to the Wizards from the LA Clippers this summer, and will this season get the opportunity to travel even further, with Washington heading to London to take on the New York Knicks in the NBA Global Games.

The 26-year-old might not be new to the London scene, having travelled to the city on a regular basis – but he’s excited to finally showcase his basketball skills in the British capital.

I’m really excited, I go to London every summer with my fiancé. So we’re going this summer and the summer after that. I love London. It’s a such a dope spot.” he said.

“So the fact that now I get to go there for free and not pay for everything and get to play in front of the crowd and bring my family and friends. I’m very excited to play there.

Soccer is huge over there but there are a lot of basketball fans out there who will create a great buzz. I think it’s important for the NBA to keep going out to places like London and spreading the sport of basketball.”

The event has drawn huge crowds over recent years, regularly selling out in record time – and with the increased popularity of the sport thanks to Sky Sports picking up broadcasting rights for the league in a new deal, this season’s event could be the biggest yet.

Rivers believes that the trip could well be a highlight of the Wizards’ campaign, but also has his eye on pushing the US capital’s franchise into post-season success.

It’s definitely one of the highlights. The highlight ultimately is to get to the playoffs, get to the conference finals. That’s where we want to be.” he said.

“But as far as regular season highlights, we didn’t get a Christmas game this year so for sure, the London Game will be one of the main things.

“We wouldn’t be playing if we didn’t believe that we could challenge for the Eastern Conference. What’s the point of playing if you don’t believe you can win? I don’t even understand that mindset.

“Especially with a team that’s going to the playoffs every year. So why wouldn’t we think that with the additions we added to a playoff team, why can’t we be conference champions?”

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

Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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