Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets to Play in 2019 NBA China Games
LeBron James will be back in Shanghai in 2019, though not for another leg of his More Than An Athlete World Tour. Rather, come the fall, he'll be suiting up in purple and gold as the Los Angeles Lakers face the Brooklyn Nets in the 13th edition of the NBA China Games.
The two teams—from the league's two biggest American markets—will play preseason games in Shanghai on October 10 and Shenzhen on October 12.
The Lakers last visited China as a team in 2013, when they faced off against the Golden State Warriors in Beijing and Shanghai.
"The entire Los Angeles Lakers organization is excited to return to China to play in front of the passionate Chinese fans," Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma said in a press release. "During my visit to China, I was absolutely amazed by the fans’ love and excitement for the game of basketball."
The Nets will be making their third trip to China, following matchups against the Houston Rockets in Beijing and Guangzhou in 2010, and opposite the Sacramento Kings in Beijing and Shanghai in 2014. This will mark the first time, though, that Brooklyn has crossed the Pacific Ocean to play since Joe Tsai, the co-founder and executive vice chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, became part-owner of the team in October 2017.
“It’s an honor to help celebrate basketball’s growth abroad, and represent Brooklyn and the League on an international stage," Nets wing Caris LeVert said in a statement. "The Nets have a connection to fans all over the world, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to visit China and play for our passionate Chinese fans for the very first time.”
Josh Martin is the Editorial Director of CloseUp360. He previously covered the NBA for Bleacher Report and USA Today Sports Media Group, and has written for Yahoo! Sports and Complex. He is also the co-host of the Hollywood Hoops podcast. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.