NBA star Kevin Durant wants to help game grow in UK

Durant on Manchester

Oklahoma City Thunder meet the Philadelphia 76ers in Manchester on Tuesday as part of NBA plans to take basketball to a global audience.

The NBA Global Games schedule features eight teams playing in six countries in the 2013-14 pre-season.

And the exhibition match at Manchester Arena will see players put on a show, according to Thunder's Kevin Durant.

"Hopefully they'll enjoy it and more people [will] start going to matches over here," he added.

Durant is one of the highest-paid sportspeople in the world but says he is "anonymous" in the UK.

However the 25-year-old USA international told BBC Sport the players were relishing travelling the world and taking their game to potentially new audiences.

"It's going to be hard to convert them from football fans to basketball fans," said Durant, whose team reached the NBA Finals in 2012, where they lost to the Miami Heat.

"But we've just got to go out there and be ourselves.

"As players we've just got to play our hardest and give the people a show.

"We are excited to be travelling to different countries and playing this game that we love. A lot of guys didn't think we'd be travelling all round the world for basketball, so it's worth it."

Having been part of the USA side which won their 14th Olympic basketball gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, this is Durant's second visit to the UK. He also played for USA in a 118-78 win over GB's Olympic team in a friendly in Manchester in July 2012.

The Oklahoma forward says he returns with fond memories of winning gold last year.

"It is great to come back here," added Durant. "Last summer was really cool just to be amongst so many great basketball fans and people who enjoy watching it.

"It was fun to be a part of the Olympics here and playing for your country, you can't beat that. I have some great memories of the UK and things that will stick with me forever."