BEIJING – NBA China today announced that NBA Champion and two-time NBA All-Star Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs will visit China from Aug. 18–24 to support the growth of basketball in the country and coach top youth talent from the region at The NBA Academy Zhejiang. This will be Leonard’s first trip to China.
Leonard, a two-time NBA All-Star and the 2014 Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, will travel to Beijing to host a basketball clinic for select migrant school students as part of NBA’s celebration of its 30-year partnership with CCTV. He will also meet fans at NBA 5v5, the league’s five-on-five tournament for elite players in China, and visit Tencent’s broadcast studio in Beijing.
In addition, Leonard will work with the NBA’s Player Development department and participate in the Career Crossover program. Leonard will spend time in the NBA Beijing Office to shadow NBA China CEO David Shoemaker, attend various business meetings with NBA China executives and conduct a chalk talk with NBA staff.
Leonard will then visit The NBA Academy Zhejiang in Zhuji, becoming the first NBA player to visit an NBA Academy in China. He will coach the academy players through a series of basketball drills. Leonard will wrap up his trip by making a special appearance at the NBA Playzone in Shanghai, an NBA-themed family entertainment destination for kids and their families.
“I’m thrilled to travel to China to help grow the game of basketball,” said Leonard. “I am also excited to see the fans’ passion and excitement for basketball, and to experience the Chinese culture.”
Leonard, a 6’7” forward from San Diego State, was selected 15th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. A two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals per game during the 2016-17 NBA season.
The NBA Academy Zhejiang, The NBA Academy Shandong and The NBA Academy Xinjiang are elite basketball training centers for the top male and female prospects from throughout China, were opened last November. The NBA academies employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. As part of the program, the students compete against top competition throughout the year and have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that play in international tournaments and exhibition games.