Spurs star Leonard makes first China visit

AFP
San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in the Spurs' 2014 title run, will visit China starting on Friday to help coach at youth clinics.
AFP
AFP

San Antonio Spurs Kawhi Leonard (left) and Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin vie for a ball during an NBA playoff game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in this May 2, 2015, photo. Leonard will visit China from August 18, 2017, to help coach at youth clinics.

San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in the Spurs' 2014 title run, will visit China starting on Friday to help coach at youth clinics.

The two-time NBA All-Star will tour Beijing and Shanghai in his first visit to China, a week-long trip to help boost basketball in the country that includes a stop at the National Basketball Association Academy Zhejiang.

"I'm thrilled to travel to China to help grow the game of basketball," Leonard said. "I'm also excited to see the fans' passion and excitement for basketball and to experience the Chinese culture."

Leonard will host a clinic for select migrant school students and meet players and fans at the NBA's five-on-five tournament for elite players in China.

In addition, Leonard will work with the NBA's player development department and shadow NBA China chief executive David Shoemaker, attending business meetings and speaking with the staff.

The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will become the first NBA player to visit an NBA Academy in China when he appears at the facility in Zhuji, guiding players through basketball drills.

Leonard concludes his journey with a stop at the NBA Playzone in Shanghai, an NBA-themed family entertainment destination.

Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals a game for the Spurs last season, when they went 61-21 in the regular season only to fall to eventual champion Golden State in the Western Conference finals of the NBA playoffs.

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