In yet another example of the Lakers’ global outreach, they will play two exhibition games next season in China.
The Lakers will go up against the Golden State Warriors both in Beijing (Oct. 15) and Shanghai (Oct. 18) as part of the NBA’s campaign to feature eight teams play in eight preseason games spanning six different countries. That initiative will mark the first time an NBA team plays in Brazil (Chicago vs. Washington in Rio de Janiero on Oct. 12), the Philippines (Houston vs. Indiana on Oct. 13), Bilbao, Spain (Philadelphia vs. Spanish team Bilbao on Oct. 6) and Manchester, England (Oklahoma City vs. Philadelphia on Oct. 8).
“Providing fans with an authentic NBA experience is an important part of our efforts to grow the game globally,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “This fall, nearly a third of our teams will embark on a global tour that will celebrate the game of basketball, give our international fans a chance to connect with NBA teams and players, and leave a lasting impact in each of the communities we visit.”
The Lakers spent part of the 2010 preseason playing in London and Barcelona, something former coach Phil Jackson called “a bust” even before the event began because it also involved plenty of marketing events surrounding the team. The Lakers eventually failed to three-peat, falling in a four-game sweep to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Western Confernece semifinals. Nonetheless, the Clippers and Miami Heat spent a week in China this preseason, playing each other in Beijing and Shanghai and have turned out just fine so far this season.
The Lakers have several connections to China.
Bryant has a large following in Asia for various reasons: his Nike brand, his involvement with various Chinese organizations and, of course, his strong play. Dwight Howard, who could re-sign with the Lakers this offseason, went to China last offseason on an Adidas promotional tour.
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