The Toronto Raptors will host the first ever NBA preseason game involving an Argentine professional team, the Raptors announced Monday.
On Oct. 14, the Raptors will welcome San Lorenzo de Almagro to the Air Canada Centre, a game that will air internationally on League Pass. San Lorenzo, based out of Buenos Aires, won the 2016 Liga Nacional de Basquet championship, led by foemer NBA player and shampoo model Walter Herrmann.
“We are thrilled to have San Lorenzo take part in our preseason schedule and continue the NBA’s tradition of hosting top tier clubs from around the world,” NBA Latin America Vice President and Managing Director Arnon de Mello said in a release. “We are certain that fans will be treated to an exciting matchup between two of the top teams in their respective leagues.”
“The Toronto Raptors have a proud history of playing host to international clubs and our organization and fans look forward to welcoming San Lorenzo de Almagro to our city,” Masai Ujiri added. “We are honoured to join with the NBA to promote our global game.”
Ujiri’s right about the Raptors’ history of international involvement. Under the previous regime, Bryan Colangelo would often seek out international opponents, and that’s continued under Ujiri. In addition, head coach Dwane Casey will often bring in or visit European coaches to help improve his staff.
The Raptors have hosted an opponent from outside of North America on eight previous occasions, as recently as a meeting with Maccabi Haifa in 2014. They’re 8-2 overall in preseason games against international opponents, taking losses to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005 and at Real Madrid in 2007. San Lorenzo has some history playing top North American teams, too – they played the Harlem Globetrotters back in 1951.
Now the question becomes whether veteran Luis Scola will be back with the team to put the hurt on his countrymen.