Sunday, July 22, 2001

NBA Players to Visit China, Taiwan

Gary Payton, Ray Allen and Shareef Abdur-Rahim will be among a group of NBA players who will travel to China and Taiwan in September for two exhibition games against local players.

Wang Zhi-zhi of the Dallas Mavericks and 7-foot-6 center Yao Ming of the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association will play in the first exhibition game, Sept. 16 at Shanghai Stadium, the NBA said. The second game is Sept. 19 at National Taiwan University Multiple Stadium in Taipei.

"With the eyes of the sporting world looking to Asia, we are pleased to showcase our game and build valuable partnerships which will help develop a foundation for a promising future," said Sam Strang, the NBA's vice president for global marketing partnerships.

Other NBA players who will participate include Vin Baker of Seattle, Terrell Brandon of Minnesota, Todd MacCulloch of New Jersey Nets, Corey Maggette of the Los Angeles Clippers, Cliff Robinson of Detroit, Damon Stoudamire of Portland and Robert Traylor of Cleveland.

Among the 10 NBA players, Gary Payton, Damon Stoudamire, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Terrell Brandon have all visited Taiwan before. Stoudamire, Brandon and Abdur-Rahim visited Taiwan for NIKE's Asia promotion tour. Gary Payton's case is the most special one. He visited Taiwan as a college freshman in 1987, when local sports management company somehow arranged two NCAA games between Oregon State and Clemson, which has Elden Campbell at the time. Little did everyone knew that Payton will become a No.2 pick overall in the NBA Draft four years later.

Eight Taiwanese players who will play in the exhibition games are Tien Lei, Yen Shin-shu, Chen Chih-chung, Chen Hsin-an, Lo Shin-liang, Yang Tse-yi, Chen Huei and Lin Hsin-hwa.

(AP story is used in this report)