A delegation of the Washington Wizards, the first NBA team to visit China, left Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, on Sunday morning for Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province, winding up its short visit of Sichuan.
The team arrived in Chengdu on Friday afternoon and had a group interview with the media.
To commemorate the Bullets' landmark visit, Peter Biche, president of the Wizards (R), presents a black-and-white photo of the teammates taken in front of the Palace Museum (Imperial City) in Beijing 30 years ago to David Brown, the new Consul General of the American Consulate General in Chengdu, in a reception held at the Consul General's Residence on Saturday evening.[Photo: chinadaily.com.cn/Huang Zhiling]
On Saturday, they visited the You'ai Primary School in Dujiangyan, a city under the administration of Chengdu, and stayed at the Chengdu-based University of Electronic and Science and Technology of China (UESTC) where they taught basketball players from the UESTC and Aba Teachers College in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan to improve their skills.
Both Dujiangyan and Aba were hard hit in the 8-magnitude earthquake in Wenchuan county in Aba, the epicenter of the devastating quake.
"The quake hurt the people of Sichuan and we were eager to visit children in the quake zone," said Peter Biche, president of the Wizards, in a group interview with the media.
Hosted by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the team's Sichuan visit was the third stop of its 10-day visit in China to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Bullets' (now the Wizards) groundbreaking journey to China.
Before its visit to Chengdu, they had visited Shanghai and Beijing.
The visit is aimed at promoting friendship between the two countries, bringing China not only the advanced basketball management methods and professional skills but also the sincere care from American people, Biche said.
The Bullets were the first NBA team to travel to China in 1979, when Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping invited owner Abe Pollin shortly after the normalization of relations between China and the United States.
To commemorate the Bullets' landmark visit, Biche presented a black-and-white photo of the teammates taken in front of the Palace Museum (Imperial City) in Beijing 30 years ago to David Brown, the new Consul General of the American Consulate General in Chengdu, in a reception held at the Consul General's Residence on Saturday evening.
Brown, who took his present position six weeks ago, said he liked the photo very much and joked that he was considering whether to keep it for himself at his residence or put it up in his office so that his successor would share it.
"It's significant that the Wizards pay a return visit to China, commemorating the special 30th anniversary between China and the United States," said Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese ambassador to the United States, in an interview with Xinhua. "We are supporting their trip because they want to review the history they made in 1979 and continue paying their contributions both to Sino-American relations and sports."
(China Daily September 15, 2009)