The United States men's basketball team will visit Macao on July 28 and Shanghai on Aug 2 for the USA Basketball International Challenge, NBA China announced yesterday.
The star-studded US team, led by regular season MVP Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, will face Turkey and Lithuania at the Cotai Arena in Macao on July 31 and Aug 1 before flying to Shanghai for two clashes with Euroleague champion Russia and Oceania champion Australia on Aug 3 and 5 at the Qizhong Arena.
This is Team USA's second China Tour in three years - the NBA superstars also played exhibition games in Guangzhou in 2006, two weeks ahead of the World Championships in Japan.
"The games against Russia and Australia will without doubt be very challenging and feature a pair of opponents who are their zone's champions and are very talented teams," said Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the US men's national team. "The Qizhong Arena is an outstanding venue for these games and the USA Basketball International Challenge will afford basketball fans in and around Shanghai a remarkable opportunity to see three of the world's very best teams show their abilities."
Tickets for the Challenge in Shanghai are on sale now and can be purchased through www.ticketmaster.cn, while those in Macao go on sale today and can be purchased at the Cotai Arena Box, the Sands Theater Box Office, or online at www.venetianmacaotickets.com.
Basketball has become the most popular sport in China. The NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics begin on Friday and are expected to draw some 130 million viewers.
Off the basketball court, the NBA is also flexing its charitable muscles, donating 14 million yuan ($2 million) to support rescue work in the quake-hit area in China's Sichuan province last week.
(China Daily June 4, 2008)