Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Vivek Ranadive

Kings expanding global reach with two preseason games in China

Published: Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014 - 10:50 pm

When Vivek Ranadive became the principal owner of the Kings, he said he wanted to make DeMarcus Cousins famous in his native India.

That plan will start in another part of Asia.

The Kings will play the Brooklyn Nets in two preseason games in China in October, the Kings’ first preseason games outside the United States since 2004.

The Kings were one of the first two teams to play preseason games in China, 10 years ago against the Houston Rockets, who then featured China’s Yao Ming, the first international player to be selected first overall in the draft without having played college basketball in the United States.

“We’re thrilled to bring the Kings experience back to our fans in China,” Ranadive said in a statement. “Over 300 million Chinese men and women play basketball, so there’s huge potential to connect with new and existing fans.”

The first game will be Oct. 12 at the Mercedes-Benz Center in Shanghai, with the second game Oct. 15 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing.

Ranadive has made turning the Kings into a global brand one of his top goals, and the Kings have broadcast 21 games on Chinese media outlets this season. In February, the Kings started an official account on Weibo, China’s premier microblogging site.

“We’ll be volunteering in the community, as well as utilizing technology and social media to share our trip with Kings fans around the world,” Ranadive said. “We look forward to playing the Brooklyn Nets, who share our philosophy that basketball is the preeminent global sport of the 21st century.”

The Nets, owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, have several international players.

Though the Kings don’t have any foreign-born players, they have been popular internationally because of their former players. They drafted Omri Casspi in 2009, making him the first Israel-born player in the NBA. Vlade Divac (Serbia), Peja Stojakovic (Serbia), Hedo Turkoglu (Turkey) and Beno Udrih (Slovenia) have played for the team.

The Kings and Nets will play two of five preseason games in the NBA Global Games 2014. The San Antonio Spurs will play games in Germany and Turkey against Euroleague teams. Miami and Cleveland will play in Brazil.

“As the passion for the game continues to grow globally, we are focused on finding unique and meaningful ways to connect with fans worldwide, and the NBA Global Games are part of those efforts,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Basketball brings people together across cultural and geographic lines, and these games are a great opportunity for our fans to experience the excitement of the NBA first-hand.”


Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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