China is attracting top teams

Updated: 2012-09-11 08:07

By Tang Zhe (China Daily)

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China is attracting top teams

You better get used to the NBA coming to town.

China has became a favored destination for the league's players, making it increasingly easy to convince top-level teams to come for the China Games, NBA China CEO David Shoemaker said on Monday.

Shoemaker was speaking at a fan event in Beijing. Denver Nuggets forward Andre Iguodala was also on hand to interact with fans.

The sixth edition of the NBA China Games, to be played between the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat in Beijing and Shanghai on Oct 11 and 14, is perhaps the best matchup since the NBA began staging exhibitions in China. It marks the first time a defending champion will participate.

"I'm really excited for the NBA China Games 2012," Shoemaker said. "For one thing, it is my first NBA China Games as the CEO of NBA China. But I'm especially excited for our fans, who only get to see the NBA teams come to China once a year.

"This year we have a special quality of teams. We have, for the first time ever, the NBA champion Miami Heat, filled with all of the great talents on that team, playing with one of the most talented teams in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers, led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul."

The two teams feature 11 NBA All-Stars, three NBA Finals Most Valuable Players and six Olympic gold medalists.

Shoemaker said it wasn't tough to convince the defending champion Heat to come play.

"NBA teams are now very eager to come to China to play. Iguodala just said he thinks the fans in China are number one," Shoemaker said. "Just few weeks ago I was in Shanghai with Butler for a fans day Caron Butler expressed the very same sentiment about how enjoyable it is to play in front of Chinese fans and how he thought that the China Games meant something extra special for both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat.

"So it's actually quite easy to have teams of that caliber play in China, and I think it will only get easier as the years go on."

Compared with the last edition in 2010, when former Chinese NBA star Yao Ming led the Houston Rockets against the New Jersey Nets in Beijing and Guangzhou, this year's event features few Chinese elements. Shoemaker said the aim is to bring the authentic NBA experience to Chinese fans.

"I think what attracts so many people to the China Games is the authentic real NBA experience that comes to China and we don't alter it," he said.

(China Daily 09/11/2012 page23)