NEW YORK (Reuters) - The National Basketball Association will play exhibition and possibly even some regular season games in Brazil within the next six years as the league seeks to build its presence outside the United States.
In a pre-playoff conference call on Wednesday, NBA Commissioner David Stern said he expected the league would play exhibition games in Brazil before Rio de Janeiro stages the first South American Olympics in 2016.
"By 2016 I think we will have played an exhibition game in Brazil," Stern said. "I am not sure about a regular season game but we are looking to enhance our footprint and play exhibition games in Latin America beyond Mexico."
There are currently several high-profile NBA players who were born in Brazil, including Nene of the Denver Nuggets, Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns and Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Since 1988, the NBA has staged 98 games -- either regular season, pre-season or exhibition -- outside the United States and Canada featuring NBA teams.
Before the current season, the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns played a pre-season game in Monterrey, Mexico.
(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by John Mehaffey)