Brooklyn Nets star Joe Johnson has spoken positively about his team's trip to London where they will face off against the Atlanta Hawks at the O2 Arena on Thursday night as part of the NBA Global Games.
Many critics appear to have questioned the sense of the Nets making the long journey just days after facing the Raptors in Toronto, yet the 32-year-old shooting guard is clearly proud to be part of such a historic occasion and sees himself as something of a role model for the sport.
"Yeah, definitely. I think we all understand you know that we're definitely role models man," he told GiveMeSport prior to a practice session at the O2 on Wednesday afternoon.
"We've been looked up to and bringing the game of basketball over to London, making it global is beyond my imagination.
"I never even thought of it. I never even thought I would be part of it, so to be able to witness this and take pictures man and stuff I can show my kids and my family and be proud of it."
Johnson, who joined the Nets last summer after spending six years in the uniform of Thursday's opponents, even believes it would be possible for the NBA to introduce a European franchise at some point in the future - although he concedes that he is unsure how that would work logisitically.
"I think that's why we're here," he joked. "I think it's definitely possible. I don't know how we are gonna do it with the time change and the time difference but I'm sure they'll figure it out."
That aforementioned game against the Raptors ended in a 96-80 loss for Jason Kidd's men, a disappointing result that snapped a five-game winning streak.
The Nets endured a horrendous start to the 2013/14 campaign. Rather than challenging at the summit of the Eastern Conference, Brooklyn - along with their cross-city rival Knicks - have spent much of the season fighting to get somewhere near .500.
2014 appears to have heralded a new dawn for the team, however, and they will be hopeful of completing their second victory over the Hawks this season in front of a sellout British crowd.
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