As part of the first-ever NBA Chinese New Year Season of Giving Initiative, Sonics legend Gary Payton arrived in China on January 31 and enjoyed a dumpling meal with students of Ankai School in Lianjiang, where he also unveiled the school's new basketball court, donated by the NBA. Payton then led a basketball clinic for underprivileged kids in Fujian and is scheduled to head to Shanghai, where he will lead the NBA Yao Basketball Club clinic for Special Olympics athletes. Payton will also hand out Chinese New Year gifts of over 1,600 Spalding basketballs in each of China's 34 provinces.
"I am so happy that I can come to such a remote place to see the students playing basketball," said Payton.
The NBA has lined up a series of activities in China to honor of the Year of the Goat, including roadshows, clinics, special games, and 56 live broadcasts, showcasing 27 of the league's 30 teams. The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are also slated to wear special Chinese New Year jerseys for several games this season.
"Chinese New Year is a time of joyful family reunion and provides an occasion for us to share in the festivities by delivering the excitement of the NBA right into the homes of our fans," said NBA China CEO David Shoemaker. "We truly appreciate the support of our Chinese fans, and we are thrilled to tip off our NBA Chinese New Year Celebration Season of Giving by dedicating a new basketball court in Fujian Province."
The NBA's festivities will take place from February 19 to March 4.