After 14 years, the NBA returns to the Baltimore Arena tonight when the Washington Wizards face the New York Knicks in a preseason game dubbed the ‘Baltimore Basketball Classic.’ Fifty years ago today, the Baltimore Bullets (now the Washington Wizards) won their first game in a 115-113 comeback victory over the New York Knicks. The Civic Center (now the Baltimore Arena) opened 50 years ago yesterday October 16, 1963. The Bullets played in Baltimore from 1963 to 1973, during which they had an intense rivalry with the Knicks.
Tonight’s inaugural Baltimore Basketball Classic is the first time the Wizards have played in Baltimore since hosting a preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 23, 1999. Tonight also marks the return of Baltimore native Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. In 2001, Melo was named All-Metro Player of the Year, Baltimore County Player of the Year and Baltimore Catholic League Player of the Year while at Towson Catholic High School.
It is going to be a great night of Wizards-Knicks basketball in Charm City. Tip-off is at 7pm tonight at the Baltimore Arena. Ravens’ Torrey Smith and Ray Rice will be in attendance, and I’m guessing a few other local celebrities will be there as well.
For live updates,pics and vids throughout tonight’s Baltimore Basketball Classic, follow Deena Dietrich on Twitter @DeenasDays. Also check back here tomorrow for a full recap of the game as well as the night’s events.