With the 2022–2023 NBA schedule released on Wednesday, there are several special dates to highlight for the season.
The 77th NBA regular season will tip off on October 18, 2022, and conclude on April 9, 2023. The 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament will take place from April 11–14, followed by the start of the 2023 NBA Playoffs presented by Google Pixel on April 15. Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV is scheduled to be played on June 1.
The estimated average miles traveled for the 2022–2023 regular season has been reduced to 41,000 miles per team, a record low in the era with 30 teams and 82 games per team. The instances with no travel between games for teams on the road have increased by 66% from last season (88 from 53). The 88 no-travel instances include 55 instances of teams playing consecutive road games against the same opponent and 33 instances of teams playing two games in a row in Los Angeles (against the Clippers and Lakers) or New York (against the Knicks and Nets).
Other schedule highlights include a series of special games as highlighted below.
Spurs Hitting the Road
The San Antonio Spurs have announced they will host four special home games, including one in Mexico City, a 50th anniversary celebration at the Alamodome in San Antonio and two in Austin.
The four out-of-market home games will be spread throughout the season, starting when the Spurs play in Mexico City at Arena CDMX on December 17.
The team will make a return to the Alamodome in San Antonio on January 13. The Spurs played nine seasons in the Alamodome from 1993 to 2002, including their first NBA championship season in 1999. With a capacity of 65,000-plus for the Dome, the Spurs are poised to break the attendance record for an NBA regular-season game.
The Spurs will also travel to Austin for a pair of games on April 6 and April 8 at Moody Center, a new venue in Austin that will be the home for University of Texas men’s and women’s basketball.
“Hosting these four games is part of our vision to purposefully engage and celebrate our entire Spurs following from Mexico to Austin, while fostering the next generation of fans,” said RC Buford, chief executive officer for Spurs Sports & Entertainment.
The NBA Paris Game 2023 will feature the six-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls and the three-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons playing a regular-season game at the Accor Arena in Paris on January 19.
The game will mark the Bulls’ third appearance in Paris, having played two preseason games in the French capital in 1997. The Pistons will be playing their first game in France, having previously played regular-season games in London (2013) and Mexico City (2019).
The NBA Paris Game 2023 will mark the first NBA game in Europe since before the pandemic in 2020 and the league’s 12th game in France since 1991.
Preseason Games in Middle East, Asia
The Golden State Warriors will play two preseason games in Japan against the Washington Wizards as part of the NBA Japan Games 2022 on September 30 and October 2 at Saitama Super Arena, marking the first Japan visit for both teams and the 15th and 16th NBA games ever in the country.
The NBA Japan Games 2022 will mark Golden State’s ninth and 10th games played outside of North America, and Japan will become the sixth country outside of the United States to host a Warriors game. The Warriors last participated in the NBA Global Games in China in 2017 with a pair of preseason games in Shenzhen and Shanghai.
Between 1990 and 2003, the NBA staged 12 regular season games in Japan. The matchup between the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz in Tokyo on November 2, 1990, marked the first regular season game outside of North America by a U.S. sports league. The NBA last played games in Japan in 2019, when the Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors played two preseason games.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will play two preseason games in Abu Dhabi on October 6 and October 8 at Etihad Arena, the league’s first games held in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
“We are honored to have been selected to participate in the NBA’s first games in the United Arab Emirates,” said Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin. “As the NBA continues to expand globally, we look forward to visiting Abu Dhabi and furthering the league’s goals of inspiring people through basketball. We will be proud to represent our city, our state and Bucks fans worldwide this October.”
Election Day Off
In an effort to encourage its players and employees to get out and vote, there will be no NBA games scheduled for Election Day, November 8. Teams are being encouraged to share election information such as registration deadlines with their fan bases in the weeks leading to November 8.
The schedule calls for all 30 teams to play on November 7, the night before the midterm elections. The NBA is hoping teams use that night as an opportunity to encourage fans to vote, plus amplify the need for civic engagement.
This type of scheduling move is a rarity for the league. In addition to Election Day, the league typically plays no games on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and tries to avoid scheduling games on the day of the NCAA men’s basketball championship game — often the first Monday of April. It also has a few days off built around the All-Star Game, which takes place in February and in 2023 will be held in Salt Lake City.