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Top NBA players to tour China, Taiwan

The first game of the NBA World Tour will be in Shanghai on September 16 and the second in Taipei three days later.

The matches will feature teams comprised of both NBA and local players while NBA mascots and dancers entertain the crowd.

The NBA players include Seattle Supersonics team mates Gary Payton and Vin Baker, Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks, Terrell Brandon of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Shareef Abdur-Rahim of the Atlanta Hawks.

The game in Shanghai will feature top local players Wang Zhizhi, who became the first Chinese player in the NBA when he joined the Dallas Mavericks this season, as well as center Yao Ming, considered a top NBA prospect.

The NBA said the tour will help its marketing strategy in Asia and showcase some of its top players to fans in China and Taiwan. It has brought players over to China and Taiwan before but has not hosted exhibition games.

“This is a great opportunity for the players and fans,” said Terry Lyons, head of international marketing for the NBA.

The NBA has already staged several games in Japan and signed a television deal in China that broadcasts NBA action to more than 150 million people.

Other NBA players lined up for the tour include Todd MacCulloch of the Philadelphia 76ers, Corey Maggette of the Los Angeles Clippers, Cliff Robinson of the Phoenix Suns, Damon Stoudamire of the Portland Trail Blazers and Robert Traylor of the Cleveland Cavaliers.