Cleveland, Orlando to visit China in October
The Cavs will play two exhibition games in Asia.
SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are headed to China.
The Cavaliers will play preseason games against the Orlando Magic on Oct. 17 and Oct. 20, the NBA announced Thursday. The first game will be played in Shanghai and the second will be in the former Portuguese territory of Macau.
Sandwiched between those games, the Magic will face the Chinese national team on Oct. 18, also in Macau.
The preseason games will be the second for the NBA in China. In 2004, the Houston Rockets -- led by Chinese center Yao Ming -- and the Sacramento Kings played in Beijing and Shanghai.
The meeting between the Magic and the Chinese national team will mark the second time an NBA team has faced China's top team on national soil. In 1979, the Washington Bullets -- now the Wizards -- played two games against China.
Practice for Olympics
Chinese Basketball Association head Li Yuanwei said the matchup would be good practice for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
"We can see the China team's growth and improvement, so the NBA game is a great chance to boost those preparations," Li said.
For James and Magic star Dwight Howard, it will be the second trip in two years to China, where the NBA has worked to strengthen its presence before the 2008 Olympics. The United States played tuneup games there last year on its way to Japan for the world championships.
"Shanghai is an incredible global destination and we're thrilled to be returning here for our games," said Heidi Ueberroth, who directs the NBA's international business. "We know our fans here are in for a real thrill and our players can't wait."
Thursday's event featured taped greetings from the Cavaliers' James and Dwight Howard of the Magic, along with Chinese star Yi Jianlian, a 7-foot forward expected to go in the first round of this year's NBA draft.
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