Parker, Ginobili star in celebrity hoops game
Former San Antonio Spurs teammates Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili showed off their skills for Shanghai basketball fans — albeit playing for opposing teams — during the 2019 Super Penguin League Celebrity Game at Shanghai Oriental Sports Center over the weekend.
The Pudong venue recently staged matches of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Organized by China’s internet giant Tencent, the game featured popular Chinese actors and singers like Jam Hsiao, Zheng Kai, and Zheng Yunlong. They were divided into two teams — Blue and Red — for cross-over entertainment.
Parker and Ginobili watched the first half as assistant coaches from the courtside before putting on their kit to join the competition in the second half.
Former NBA MVP point guard Parker’s shift breakthroughs won loud cheers from the audience while Argentine Ginobili showcased his dominance under the basket. Ginobili’s Blue Team eventually beat the Frenchman's Red Team 56-45.
Along with Tim Duncan, the Spurs trio was nicknamed “GDP” by Chinese fans. Duncan is now an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich at the Texas franchise.
“It’s actually the first time I was informed about our nickname GDP given by Chinese fans,” four-time NBA champion Ginobili said. “But I have been told about Chinese fans’ enthusiasm many times before, and I’m just happy to be in the city.”
The match was broadcast by ESPN and reached fans in countries like Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States.
Other National Basketball Association stars who have taken part in previous versions of the Super Penguin League Celebrity Game include Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.