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NBA players enjoy preseason China trip

Updated: 2013-10-15 19:27
By Sun Xiaochen ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Despite their fatigue and jet lag, NBA stars from two California teams enjoy playing global preseason games in China.

Traveling thousands of kilometers for two preseason games in a busy schedule might not be an easy way to prepare for the 2013-14 NBA season, which begins on Oct 30 Beijing time, but stars with the Los Angeles Lakers and Oakland's Golden State Warriors took it in stride.

They even had the chance to go sightseeing on the Great Wall and bring home some souvenirs.

"I bought T-shirts and a plate with a drawing of the Wall on it," Lakers center Pau Gasol told China Daily after practice on Monday.

Gasol even tried to bargain with the vendors like a sophisticated customer, and his body language apparently worked well.

The vendors "always try to overcharge the tourists, and I brought it down a few dollars. Maybe it (the bargaining) will help improve my Chinese," said the 2.13-meter-tall Spaniard.

Working hard to come back from an injury to his right foot that hampered his performance last season, Gasol admitted that the China trip was a tough journey physically but will help the team.

"I don't think it's ideal for any team in training camp. But it's a good bonding experience," said the 33-year-old. "We are far away from our homes, but we spend more time with each other. That's a good thing. We are a little tired from the trips, given the time difference" between the US and China.

"It's crazy you don't have much time to relax. But we are here for a reason. This is a business trip for the most part, so we try to utilize it as much as we can to work on things. It's important for us to progress."

Warriors starting guard Stephen Curry echoed Gasol's sentiment that traveling takes a toll physically but works as far as gelling the team spirit.

"The time change and the basic things we have to adjust to (are hard). But for the most part, we will have a lot of time to recover once we get home before opening night against the Lakers. So we will have fun here."

Curry, who had a career year last season when he averaged 22.9 points and 6.9 assists per game, took the China trip as a lucky charm as the Miami Heat, which came to play in China last year, ended up winning the NBA championship.

"Look at the Heat last year. The team came over here and had the chance to win the championship," the 25-year-old said.

Curry brought his family, including his wife, daughter and parents, to China, and the Great Wall visit didn't disappoint them.

"It was an awesome trip. You see pictures of the wall and hear of it, but seeing it in person is a really cool opportunity. We had great pictures, and we all had good times. It's a good first day in China."

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