The Dallas Mavericks and the Philadelphia 76ers are China-bound next season.
The NBA has announced that the NBA China Games 2018 will feature two preseason games between the Mavs and the 76ers for the NBA’s 25th and 26th games in the country.
“It is such an honor playing internationally,” said Mavs forward Harrison Barnes. “I’ve been fortunate to play in China before and I remember how great the fans were. It’s going to be such a fantastic experience for our team.”
Dirk Nowitzki has played in China before but is even more excited this time to be playing alongside his teammates.
“When I played in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I witnessed China’s enthusiasm for basketball firsthand. It will be a fantastic experience for our franchise to play in China for the first time,” he said. “We’re also excited about the possibility of reconnecting with two great Chinese players who played for the Mavericks, Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian.”
The Mavericks and 76ers will both play in China for the first time when they meet on Friday, Oct. 5 in Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, followed by a rematch on Monday, Oct. 8 in Shenzhen at the Shenzhen Universiade Center.
The Mavericks’ roster currently features 13-time NBA All-Star and 2011 NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, 2015 NBA Champion Harrison Barnes and standout rookie Dennis Smith Jr. The 76ers are led by a young core featuring All-Star center Joel Embiid and Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons. Philadelphia’s talented roster also includes 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, Dario Šarić and Robert Covington.
“These games will not only bring the excitement of NBA action directly to our passionate Chinese fans, but also provide our teams and players an opportunity to experience the rich culture and history of the country,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“The Mavericks and 76ers, both playing in China for the first time, will be able to encounter firsthand the incredible support of our Chinese fans and bond with one another through projects and events in the local community,” Silver said.
“It will be an honor to be the first 76ers team to play in front of the amazing fan base in China in October,” said 76ers center Joel Embiid.
His teammate 76ers guard/forward Ben Simmons said: “Getting a chance to play all over the world has always been a dream of mine and I’m excited to play in China in October. I know the fans there are passionate about basketball and I’m really looking forward to the trip to Shanghai and Shenzhen.”
The NBA China Games 2018 will feature a variety of fan activities, including the seventh annual NBA Fan Day on Thursday, Oct. 4 in Shanghai, which will provide thousands of fans with the opportunity to participate in oncourt games and watch the Mavericks and 76ers conduct basketball activities and skills competitions. In addition to the NBA Fan Day, the league and its partners will conduct a series of NBA Cares community outreach events in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Following the NBA China Games 2018, which will mark the NBA’s 25th and 26th games in China, 17 NBA teams will have participated since 2004, in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei.
The games will be promoted and produced by iRENA, co-produced by AEG Presents and supported by a roster of marketing and merchandising partners, and will be available in more than 200 countries and territories on television, digital and social media.
About NBA China
The NBA’s entity that conducts all of the league’s business in China was formed in January 2008 after its first office opened in Hong Kong in 1992. The NBA currently has relationships with a network of television and digital media outlets in China, including a 31-year partnership with CCTV. The league hosts hundreds of touring basketball events for fans, conducts community enrichment programs, and maintains marketing partnerships with a combination of world-class China-based corporations and U.S.-based multinationals.