About a week ago, on Sunday Oct. 4th, it was the NFL regular season game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets, in front of 90.000 European fans, at the new Wembley Stadium in London.
Yesterday, it was NBA’s opportunity to show to overseas fans what they are capable of and win some new followers, as the Charlotte Hornets defeated the LA Clippers, in Asian grounds.
Since 2004, the NBA has visited the Asian continent in order to play exhibition games, becoming the first American professional sports league to compete in China. Back then, the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings played two exhibition games in Shanghai and Beijing.
The preseason game between Hornets and Clippers, is not only the first of the two games that will be played at China this year, but also the very first to be played at Shenzhen.
It is stated that the NBA is the most popular sports league in China, and basketball is the nation’s number one team sport, with 300 million people playing the game. Reason why, the NBA continues promoting basketball overseas.
Even though the Clippers were without eight-time NBA All-Star, point guard Chris Paul, -who fractured his left index finger in practice on Saturday, they had the five-time All-Star Blake Griffin and two-time Sixth Man of the Year Award winner Jamal Crawford to defeat the Hornets on Sunday’s first exhibition game in China.
However, Cody Zeller and Jeremy Lin each scored 16 points to lead seven Charlotte players in double digits as the Hornets topped the Los Angeles Clippers 106-94.
Kemba Walker added 13 points and Brian Roberts and Jeremy Lamb each had 12 for Charlotte, which improved its preseason record to 3-0 with owner Michael Jordan courtside in Shenzhen.
Clippers’ J.J. Redick had a team-high 23 points, shooting 4-for-9 from 3-point range. Starting in place of injured Chris Paul, Pablo Prigioni had five points and seven assists in 30 minutes.
The match was exciting and packed with stars, nonetheless, NBA’s Taiwanese descent player, Jeremy Lin stole the show at the Shenzhen Universiade Center and next Wednesday October 14th he will have another chance to make his overseas fans proud in the Hornets – Clippers rematch in Shanghai, at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.