It’s official! The National Basketball Association announced yesterday that “as part of its effort to connect with its fans globally, NBA teams will play five preseason games in four countries this October as part of NBA Global Games 2014.”
China will host two of the preseason games between the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings in October 2014: on October 12 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and on October 15 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing.
“There’s a huge interest in basketball in China,’’ said Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko. “We went there in 2008 in Beijing for Olympics; it was crazy. Every NBA player is treated like a god.” Oh, he got this right: see Kobe Bryant’s or Stephon Marbury’s God-sized statues in China.
On their official NBA page, the Nets say:
“In addition to this, “Our games in China not only allow us to bring our brand to such an important global market, but from a business standpoint it gives us a chance to be in front of Chinese companies who have expressed an interest in the Nets and Brooklyn” (Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said).
“China is big for the NBA,’’ said Kevin Garnett. “They have some of the most exuberant, enthusiastic fans. I think it’s important to play there.”
This will be the Nets’ second trip to China for preseason games. They played two preseason games in Beijing and Guangzhou in 2010.
When the Nets beat the Houston Rockets, 105-96, on April 1, a large contingent of fans of Chinese descent came to Barclays Center to support point guard Jeremy Lin.
On the other hand, the Sacramento Kings prepared this promotional video and posted some photos of their latest visit to China.
The official NBA release also mentions that: “Along with the on court action, NBA Global Games 2014 will feature a variety of off-the-court activities, including NBA Cares community programs and interactive fan events in each city. The games will also be supported by a variety of marketing and merchandising partners, and will be available to fans globally on television, digital, and social media.”
Looking forward to the fight for game tickets, probably taking place in August.
By Andreea Dragut
[Photo via nba.com/Nets]