76ers, Mavs in preseason China visit
CHINA will get a first-hand look at “the Process” next season when the Philadelphia 76ers play two preseason games there against the Dallas Mavericks.
The teams will meet on October 5 in Shanghai, then on October 8 in Shenzhen, southern Guangdong Province.
“It will be an honor to be the first 76ers team to play in front of the amazing fan base in China in October,” Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said in a statement released by the team.
Dikembe Mutombo, an NBA “global ambassador,” was on hand on Tuesday in Shenzhen to make the announcement.
Philadelphia and Dallas will be the 16th and 17th teams to compete in the “NBA China Games” since the league first began playing in China in 2004.
“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,” 76ers guard/forward Ben Simmons said in a statement issued by the team. “I know the fans there are passionate about basketball and I’m really looking forward to the trip to Shanghai and Shenzhen.”
Embiid of Cameroon and Australian Simmons are two big pieces of the “Process,” the years-long rebuilding strategy that finally has the 76ers in the playoffs this year for the first time since 2012.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, failed to qualify for the postseason for the second year in a row after a run of 15 playoff appearances in 16 years.
Mavericks veteran forward Dirk Nowitzki said in a statement, “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.
“We’re also excited about the possibility of reconnecting with two great Chinese players who played for the Mavericks, Wang Zhizhi and Yi Jianlian,” added the German, a 13-time NBA All-Star who was the 2011 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.