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Who is Maccabi Ra’anana? Why are Clippers playing them in preseason game in Seattle?

Here’s why LA is facing off against an Israeli club in Seattle.

Climate Pledge Arena Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
A general view outside the arena prior to the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon in advance of tomorrow’s opening night for the NHL’s newest hockey franchise the Seattle Kraken at the Climate Pledge Arena on October 22, 2021 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers begin preseason play Friday, September 30 when they’ll face Maccabi Ra’anana at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Washington. Tipoff is set for 10 p.m. ET on NBA TV. If that’s all a little confusing to you because Maccabi Ra’anana isn’t a NBA team and Seattle doesn’t have a NBA team, we’ve got you covered.

Maccabi Ra’anana is an Israeli club currently competing in the second division of the country’s basketball system. It won the second division title back in 1995-96. Maccabi Ra’anana is one of two international clubs to be part of preseason play, with the NBL’s Adelaide 36ers also coming over to join the fun. This is likely being done to give the NBA more exposure in those countries, and grow the overall sport.

Playing in Seattle has obvious relocation implications. The NBA has also discussed league expansion, with Seattle and Las Vegas being ideal candidates to house a team. Bringing basketball back to an area where it has deep ties, even if its just for a preseason game or two, can help the league gauge how much interest is there.