The NBA arrived in London on Thursday night as Toronto Raptors took on Orlando Magic and the crowd was full of Premier League talent.
Members from the Arsenal and Chelsea squads descended upon at the O2 Arena to watch the Raptors narrowly beat the Magic 106-103 in overtime.
There was also entertainment at the interval from former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who demonstrated that he’s just as capable with a basketball than he is with a football.
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The Eastern-Conference match was the sixth NBA game to be held in London in the previous six years and there was a sell-out crowd. In fact, tickets were gone in under an hour - the quickest a basketball game has sold out in London.
Many players from Stamford Bridge were in attendance as Kurt Zouma, Asmir Begovic, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Coutois and Loic Remy gathered at the O2 alongside former Blue Michael Ballack.
But the former player that made the biggest impact on the NBA crowd was Drogba as he accepted the invitation onto the court to take a free-throw. It might have been less pressure than his winning penalty against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final, but it was the same result as he sunk his shot.
Oliver Giroud, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Calum Chambers shook off the disappointment of conceding a last minute equaliser against Liverpool the previous night by being court side. They were joined by teammate Carl Jenkinson, who is on loan at West Ham and former player Robert Pires, who is currently working at the Emirates as a youth coach.
Other Premier League stars included Manchester United’s Phil Jones, West Ham’s Diafro Sakho, Southampton’s Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares and, Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.
Among the non-football stars was British boxer George Groves and chef Gordon Ramsey.
The crowd were treated to a thrilling match as Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry won the match with a three-pointer in the final few seconds of the additional six minutes.
It was a magnificent spectacle in a tremendous atmosphere.
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