It was the week earlier than the beginning of this 12 months’s Nationwide Basketball Affiliation season.

Mark Cuban, the billionaire proprietor of the Dallas Mavericks walked onto a basketball courtroom earlier than the sport started and a loud applause greeted him as he took his courtside seat.

However Cuban was not in Dallas, Texas. He was in Shenzhen, China for a preseason sport the place the Mavericks competed towards the Philadelphia 76ers in entrance of tens of 1000’s of Chinese language followers.

Right here on the planet’s most populous nation, basketball is an enormous enterprise and the NBA’s fan base has grown.

It was the primary time the 2 groups have been taking part in in China, nevertheless it was the 26th sport to happen within the nation, because the NBA started bringing video games there in 2004.

“If there is a second middle of the basketball universe, it is China,” Scott O’Neil, CEO of the 76ers informed CNBC.

The NBA has grown to grow to be China’s hottest sports activities league. It is fashioned partnerships with a few of the nation’s greatest tech corporations and opened NBA shops and new expertise idea shops inside malls.

In response to the league, greater than 300 million individuals in China play basketball. In the meantime, the NBA is essentially the most adopted sports activities league on social media with greater than 150 million followers.

“The world is getting flatter and flatter. You possibly can interchange somebody from Philadelphia and Shanghai, you possibly can rotate them, and nobody will know the distinction,” O’Neil stated. “We take heed to the identical music, we watch the identical basketball, we observe the identical developments, it is fairly unbelievable.”

The NBA’s historical past in China dates again to the late 1980s when its commissioner at the moment, David Stern, met with China’s state run tv community CCTV to get video games on air.

By 1994, all of the NBA finals have been proven reside in China.

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