- Title: CHINA: Kevin Garnett pays a visit to China's Great Wall.
- Date: 15th July 2006
- Summary: GARNETT WALKING ON GREAT WALL
- Embargoed: 30th July 2006 13:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVAAJXUQ8XZT35JIVACBAQGD8M31
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- Story Text: National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar Kevin Garnett took a walk on China's Great Wall on Thursday (July 13). Garnett is in China to promote new basketball shoes as a part of an Adidas tour through China, India and Taiwan.
Over the next six days, he is scheduled to make stops in Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, Agra, Bangalore and Taipei.
Basketball is immensely popular in China, especially after Chinese player Yao Ming was drafted number one in the 2003 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. He became an all-star since then and an example for millions of kids in China who dream to play in the NBA one day.
Garnett said he felt basketball was set to take off in China.
"I think so. You know basketball is definitely global right now. Well, you don't have to make the Chinese market aware that basketball is established here. The kids are into it. They know how to play it. They are very good. I think the example of Yao Ming being in the NBA shows that not only Chinese, Indian kids, you know, Japanese kids, that, you know what, you can make it to the NBA if he made it. I think it's beautiful. It's definitely on its way to be much bigger than just in the United States or Europe," Kevin Garnett said.
Despite the huge popularity of the NBA in China, many young Chinese players are facing the daunting task of making it to the NBA. While NBA coaches and scouts praise their overall skills, they often point to the lack of physical strength and competitive edge.
Some Chinese basketball fans admit this shortcoming.
"I don't think we (Chinese) are less skilled than the NBA players. But we are less passionate than them. I think when we are watching NBA games, (we can see that) they not only treat it as a match, but they are also passionate and into it. They really love this game. But Chinese players do less in showing what they really are", 22-year old fan, Zhang Jing said.
Garnett is entering his 12th season in the NBA as a nine-time NBA All-Star. In 1995, he became the first high school senior since Bill Willoughy in 1976 to make himself eligible for the NBA Draft., when he was drafted by Minnesota Timberwolves. He has earned over 200 million USD in salary and endorsements income during his career. Garnett has also proven to be a role model for young people in the U.S. and around the world, for which he was awarded the NBA Community Assist Award in 2002.
Rumours swirled last season about Garnett being traded off, but he decided to stay with Minnesota and have another run at the NBA title, which has eluded him throughout his colourful career. ENDS.
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