Six-time European championship team Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv and three-time champs EA7 Emporio Armani Milan will play “Euro Classic” games in America for the first time this October.
They will face off on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Chicago’s United Center, and again on Sunday, Oct. 4, at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
The two teams have one of Europe’s most enduring rivalries on the hardcourt. In 2014, Maccabi defeated Milan in a best-of-five playoff to advance to the “final four” and eventually win the Euroleague title. In 1987 and 1988, Milan beat Maccabi in consecutive championship games that featured such legendary players as Bob McAdoo, Mike D’Antoni, Dino Meneghin, Mickey Berkowitz, Doron Jamchi, and Kevin Magee.
“Americans know their basketball, which is precisely why we are sure they will like what they see of the Euro-league’s unique style of play,” said Euroleague president and CEO Jordi Bertomeu. The two teams, he said, “are steeped in history, but they also play the kind of basketball that we are sure will be to the liking of fans in Chicago and New York.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv will be making its third appearance in Madison Square Garden, after having played against the New York Knicks in 2007 and 2009. The Israeli team recently opened an office in New York City as part of its global expansion plans.
“We always see thousands of our fans come out to our games in the U.S.,” said team general manager Danny Federman, “as was the case this past October when we played in Brooklyn against the Nets and in Cleveland against the Cavs. We’re happy to present a chance for American basketball fans, Maccabi fans, and the strong Jewish-American communities in New York and Chicago to see us in their hometowns.”
The games will mark the second U.S. appearance of the Milan team. “As a club we have a tradition of strong relationships with U.S. basketball,” said team president Flavio Portaluppi. “Five members of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., have also been members of our team. So we feel this historical step is consistent with our values and our past. Hopefully we’ll make our owner, Giorgio Armani, and all our Milan fans proud of the way we’ll represent them.”
Tickets for the Euro Classic game in New York can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office or through Ticketmaster. Visit ticketmaster.com and search “Maccabi.” Use promo code “NJJN” to save 20 percent, courtesy of New Jersey Jewish News.