It was announced on January 7th that the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will travel to China to face-off in the NBA China Games 2019 Presented by Vivo. Both teams will play each other on Thursday October 10th in Shanghai and then on Saturday October 12th in Shenzhen, in preparation for the 2019/20 NBA season.
“We would like to extend our warmest welcome to the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets as we celebrate the 27th and 28th NBA games in China. These games are the pillars of our efforts to bring authentic NBA action to our Chinese fans. I want to thank the cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen for their support and commitment to help us grow the game and promote an active and healthy lifestyle in China.” – NBA China CEO Derek Chang
This will be the second time that the Lakers have played in China, with the first being in 2013 when they played the Golden State Warriors in Beijing and Shanghai. The Warriors came out on top in both games, 100-95 and 115-89.
The Lakers first played a game outside of the United States in 1991, where they participated in the McDonald’s Open in Paris, France. The Lakers defeated Limoges 132-101 in which Vlade Divac dropped 23 points and Magic Johnson dished out 21 assists. A second game was played against Badalona where the Lakers came out on top 116-114.
19 years on, the Lakers traveled to London, England to face the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010. Minnesota beat the then-defending NBA Champions led by Phil Jackson, 111-92. Current Laker Michael Beasley scored 21 points in the game, in what was his Timberwolves debut. Kobe Bryant only featured in six minutes, much to the frustration of the crowd.
Just three days later, the team traveled to Spain to take on Regal FC Barcelona. Paul Gasol’s return home did not go as planned, as Barcelona took the game 92-88. In a game that featured a 19-year-old Ricky Rubio.
The Lakers will certainly draw sell-out crowds in China for the two-games later this year, as floods of fans will be out in force to get a glimpse of LeBron James. This will be James’ third visit to China with the first coming in 2007 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and again in 2013 with the Miami Heat.
By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)