Ten present and former NBA legends were set to take on Hapoel Jerusalem in a celebratory match to officially open the arena, however organisers were told the players wouldn’t be making the trip due to the current security situation in Israel.
Zion Turgeman, CEO of Ariel, the opening ceremony’s production company, said: “This is a serious blow to the arena’s inauguration. We have been working on the opening event for a long time, and now we will have to readjust.
“We do though intend to invite 5,000 soldiers to the opening in order to thank the IDF for its contribution to the state.”
Meanwhile, the Israel Basketball Association announced that it will host its first EuroBasket qualifier against Montenegro in Nicosia, Cyprus, after being ordered by FIBA Europe to move the game away from Israel. The IBA requested they stage the game at New York’s Madison Square Garden, but were told they have to stage it in Europe.