Shenzhen to host NBA Global Games
Updated: 2015-03-26 20:57
By Sun Xiaochen(chinadaily.com.cn)
|Eight-time NBA All-Star and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo holds the jerseys of the Charlotte Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers in front of the landmark photo wall honoring the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on Wednesday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]|
Hoops fever ignited by authentic National Basketball Association competition will rock a Southern China metropolis for the first time, as the NBA announced on Wednesday it will bring its global games back to China this autumn.
The 2015 NBA Global Games China in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, will feature two preseason games between the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers in October.
The Clippers and Hornets will play the NBA's first game ever in Shenzhen when they meet on Oct 11 at the Shenzhen Universiade Center, followed by another encounter in Shanghai on Oct 14 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
The games in China will be part of NBA Global Games 2015, with additional games announced at a later date.
The trip will also mark the Hornets' first visit to China since the debut of the NBA Global Games series in China in 2004, when the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings played two games in Shanghai and Beijing.
Michael Jordan, the global ambassador of the game and the current chairman of the Hornets, expects the games could help better promote the sport.
"The Charlotte Hornets are excited to play in NBA Global Games China and help grow the NBA's brand internationally, while showcasing the strength of our franchise and team to millions of Chinese basketball fans," the six-time NBA champion said in a statement.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver echoed Jordan's sentiment.
"Basketball is more popular than ever, and Global Games China 2015 is part of our ongoing commitment to growing the game in the world's most populous nation. These games will not only bring the excitement of NBA action directly to Chinese fans, but will also provide the league another opportunity to experience the rich history and culture of China."
The announcement took place in Shenzhen with NBA China CEO David Shoemaker and Deputy Director of Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ke Gangming.
Eight-time NBA All-Star and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo also participated in the announcement and hosted a basketball clinic for fans.
NBA Global Games China 2015 will feature a variety of off-court activities, including NBA Cares community programs. The games are supported by promoters AEG Live Asia and iRENA Group, as well as several marketing and merchandising partners, and will be available worldwide on television, digital and social media.
"We are delighted to have two young and talented teams in the Clippers and Hornets showcase the best NBA basketball to our fans in China. We thank the Chinese Basketball Association and the cities of Shenzhen and Shanghai for their support as we continue to work with them to get more boys and girls to play and enjoy basketball and to grow the game in China," Shoemaker said.
Mutombo, who enjoys massive popularity in China due to his close relationship with Yao Ming, said the interest in basketball in China impressed him every time he visited the country.
"I have been to the largest cities and the smallest villages in China, and the one constant is their love and knowledge of basketball and the NBA. Walking down the street I am humbled that the fans know and recognize me, even though I have retired from the game, and that to me speaks volumes about the NBA's popularity in China," he said.
The Clippers are led by eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul, five-time All-Star Blake Griffin, two-time Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan, who is on track to finish the season as the league leader in rebounding and field goal percentage for the second consecutive year.
This will be the Clippers' second trip to China, following the franchise's first trip to Beijing and Shanghai in 2012.
"Returning to China to participate in the NBA Global Games is another important step in establishing the Clippers as a first-class international franchise. We are looking forward to representing Los Angeles and the NBA as we bring our exciting brand of basketball to all of our fans in China," said Clippers' owner Steve Ballmer.
The Hornets' roster features 2013-14 All-NBA Third Team selection Al Jefferson, as well as emerging stars Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Following NBA Global Games China 2015, the NBA will have played 20 games in China since 2004.
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