Houston Community News >> NBA Unveils Huge Two on Two Event in China

7/12/2007-- The NBA will embark on its biggest promotional event in China when it rolls out a "two-on-two" competition in 112 cities involving up to 35,000 players, league officials said here Wednesday.

"This is the biggest scope of events that the NBA has done on a grassroots-level ever in this part of the world," NBA China managing director Mark Fischer said.

"(It) will allow us to bring an authentic NBA experience in new and exciting ways to fans in all corners of China with a scope and reach that is unprecedented."

Over 17,000 teams of two players each will compete in city-level tournaments beginning next week, culminating with 448 finalists meeting in October when the NBA brings the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic to Shanghai for an exhibition match.

The tournament is being co-sponsored by Motorola, Inc. which also announced Wednesday a partnership with the NBA as the league's "official mobile phone".

No financial details of the multi-year partnership were revealed, while Fischer would only say that the two-on-two tournament was "a major investment."

Eight NBA trucks will travel different routes throughout the nation with eight cities, including Lhasa in Tibet and Urumqi in the western-most Xinjiang region, holding matches every weekend for 14 consecutive weeks.

Up to 78,000 games will be played in the tournament, which will be open free of charge to both men and women over the age of 16.

The NBA has made steady inroads into the Chinese market and is marking its 20th year of airing league matches on state-run China Central Television.

Its presence in China, where an estimated 300 million people play basketball, was hugely boosted when seven-foot-six (2.26-metre) centre Yao Ming began his career with the Houston Rockets in 2002.

In the June NBA draft, two Chinese players were selected, with power forward Yi Jianlian being taken by the Milwaukee Bucks as the sixth overall pick and point guard Sun Yue going to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.

(Contributed by AFP)