The Brooklyn Nets continue to be in “Go Global” mode.
The NBA announced Thursday morning that the Nets would play two preseason games in China next season as part of the NBA Global Games 2014.
Time to learn how to say, “Hello Brooklyn!” in Mandarin Chinese. Ni Hao China!
The Nets will face the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 12 at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. The teams will meet again on Oct. 15 at MasterCard Center in Beijing.
“There’s a huge interest in basketball in China,’’ said Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko. “We went there in 2008 in Beijing for Olympics; it was crazy. Every NBA player is treated like a god.”
The Nets, with Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov and international players Kirilenko, Mirza Teletovic and Jorge Gutierrez, are a popular draw outside the U.S.A.
When the Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks, 127-110, on Jan. 16 in a regular season game in London, they did so before an overwhelming pro-Brooklyn crowd. It was their third trip to the United Kingdom.
“Our games in China not only allow us to bring our brand to such an important global market, but from a business standpoint it gives us a chance to be in front of Chinese companies who have expressed an interest in the Nets and Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark said.
“We will be very active during our trip in seeking to create strategic partnerships by demonstrating the powerful benefits of growing their business through the Nets in the U.S.’s No. 1 media market.”
This will be the Nets’ second trip to China for preseason games. They played two preseason games in Beijing and Guangzhou in 2010.
“China is big for the NBA,’’ said Kevin Garnett. “They have some of the most exuberant, enthusiastic fans. I think it’s important to play there.’’
Nets coach Jason Kidd, who recently said winning two gold medals playing for the U.S. Olympic team was among his most treasured accomplishments, has always been a fan of bringing the game overseas.
“It’s an honor for us to represent Brooklyn and the League in China,” Kidd said. “The borough and the Nets have connections to fans all over the world and it’s a great opportunity to play on a major international stage in China.”
When the Nets beat the Houston Rockets, 105-96, on April 1, a large contingent of fans of Chinese descent came to Barclays Center to support point guard Jeremy Lin.
KG has had a longstanding business association with the Chinese sportswear company ANTA Sports. Garnett has made many trips to China where he enjoys enormous popularity.
“It’s good to play in China,’’ said Garnett. “China is very, very enthusiastic about basketball and our game. I think we can build our brand over there.”