David Stern loves sending teams around the world for exhibition games, because it means more money for the league and owners. Sure, he’ll say it’s about expanding the league’s brand and creating a broader fan base with the hopes of one day establishing leagues and teams in other countries, but it’s about the money. It’s always about the money. And that’s fine, because money is good and capitalism is splendid as long as they’re prefaced with alley oops.
This week, the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers are the NBA’s goodwill ambassadors to the Far East, and players like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James couldn’t be more excited about showing off their recently released shoes that the Chinese fans will buy just as fast as the American fans did. Wait no, I mean they couldn’t be more excited about growing the NBA brand. Sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking.
“We’re talking about billions of people,” James said. “Each time I’ve went, the next time I’ve been like, ‘Wow.’ For us to be going over after winning the championship and to also bring another exciting team in the Clippers, I think the fans and the people there will be ecstatic about seeing us, and I hope we put on a show for them.”
“As an organization, as players individually, once we get over there it will be a great opportunity to continue to grow the game,” said Wade, who has been hesitant to talk about his new shoe deal. (Via the Miami Herald)
More on that whole Dwyane Wade shoe thing today, as I’m just going to write all things NBA in between complaining about Major League Baseball scheduling a playoff game at 1 PM on a Wednesday. But the Miami Heat’s PR team followed the players as they experienced China’s amazing landmarks like the Great Wall and those other places.
Shane Battier also said he has a bunch of funny stories, but he didn’t share any of them, so I’m just going to assume that the players all gave Mike Miller a gorilla mask. That really seems like a Heat thing to do.