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NBA set to sparkle in Shenzhen debut

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2015-03-27 07:27

Clippers and Hornets will square off as part of NBA Global Games in October

The Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte Hornets will clash on Oct 11 in the first NBA game ever played in Shenzhen.

The showdown at the Shenzhen Universiade Center will be followed by a rematch in Shanghai on Oct 14 at Mercedes-Benz Arena as part of NBA Global Games 2015, with additional games to be announced.

A highlight off the court will be the presence of Hornets chairman Michael Jordan.

"The Charlotte Hornets are excited to play in the 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 legendary Jordan said this week.

The celebration will feature a variety of off-court activities, including NBA Cares community programs.

The games are sponsored by promoters AEG Live Asia and the iRENA Group as well as several marketing and merchandising partners, and will be available worldwide on television, digital and social media.

"Basketball is more popular than ever and Global Games China is part of our ongoing commitment to growing the game in the world's most populous nation," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

"These games bring the excitement of NBA action directly to our Chinese fans, and provide the league with another opportunity to experience the rich history and culture of China.

"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."

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 games in Beijing and Shanghai in 2012.

Charlotte's roster features 2013-14 All-NBA third team selection Al Jefferson, as well as emerging stars Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The October visit marks the franchise's first trip to China.

The NBA became the first American pro sports league to compete in China, with two exhibition games between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing in 2004. The league is the most popular circuit in China and basketball is the nation's No 1 team sport, with an estimated 300 million players.

Eight-time NBA All-Star and NBA global ambassador Dikembe Mutombo also participated in the launch and hosted a clinic for fans.

"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," said Mutombo, a former Houson Rockets center and teammate of retired Chinese superstar Yao Ming.

"Walking down the street I am humbled that the fans know and recognize me even though I have retired from the game.

"To me, that speaks volumes about the NBA's popularity in China."

 NBA set to sparkle in Shenzhen debut

(From left to right) NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, Deputy District Governor of Shenzhen Longgang District, Yang Li, Deputy Director of Shenzhen Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau Ke Gangming and NBA China CEO David Shoemaker pose at the announcement of NBA Global Games 2015 in Shenzhen, Guangdong province on Wednesday. Photos Provided To China Daily

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