This Day In Sports History (November 2nd) – NBA in Japan
It was on this day in 1990 that the Phoenix Suns defeated the Utah Jazz 119-96 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. This was the first regular season game of the four major professional North American sports (NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA) to be played outside of North America.
The Suns were led that night by forward Tom Chambers who poured in a game high 38 points and recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds. Karl Malone had a strong game in a losing effort for the Jazz, as he also recorded a double-double with 33 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. The two teams would play the very next night, with the Jazz coming out on top by a score of 102-101 to split their two meetings in Japan. These two teams would also face each other in the first round of the playoffs that season, with Utah easily handling the Suns by sweeping them in four games.
Since then, the three other North American professional sports have followed suit by playing games outside the continent. The NHL now visits Europe annually to open up its season, the NFL has played games in both Mexico and England, and the MLB has traveled to Puerto Rico for a series of regular season games.
Here is a preview of last year’s NFL game in London, England between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jason Smith, NHL – Born November 2nd 1973 (age 39) in Calgary, Alberta
Orlando Cabrera, MLB – Born November 2nd 1974 (age 38) in Cartagena, Colombia
Sidney Ponson, MLB – Born November 2nd 1976 (age 36) in Noord, Aruba