NBA star LeBron James visits Hong Kong to make hoop dreams come true
Basketball megastar LeBron James made a flying visit to Hong Kong yesterday - and for some lucky local youngsters, there was even a chance to shoot hoops with the NBA's biggest name.
The four-time NBA most-valuable player spent the day in town to promote his latest range of Nike sneakers. He was greeted by hundreds of fans at a sports shop in Mong Kok, saw 12 of the city's best young basketball players put through their paces and joined a dads' and kids' camp at the University of Hong Kong.
Among the lucky few to meet their hero was Wong Lut-yiu, who beat 11 other promising young players to win the RISE Challenge, a skills competition organised by Nike.
The 20-year-old, who represented Hong Kong at under-18 level, said James was full of encouragement.
"When I received the prize, James had a high five with me and then tapped me on my shoulder, saying 'Good job!' I am really motivated," said Wong, who was selected to take part in the challenge after posting a video of his skills online. "James is undoubtedly the best player in the league … He is one of my favourite players in the NBA, and now I just like him more."
A crowd of 1,500, including James, watched the competition. Wong's prize includes a trip to Shanghai for a training camp with top players from Taiwan and the mainland.
"I see how aggressive and dominant he is in matches. But off the court, he is very friendly, easily approached and actually quite naughty," Wong added.
The star also found time to offer tips to 11 lucky children who won the chance to join a sports camp at HKU after entering a competition on Facebook with their fathers. James gave them each a signed basketball.
Twins Jovi Ho Cheuk-kiu and Jaime Ho Cheuk-yin, 10, were in attendance with their father Ho King-hong. And Jovi had the thrill of a lifetime as he paired up with the star nicknamed "King James" for some training drills.
"I was nervous but also happy," said Jovi. "I am a supporter of the Miami Heat and James is my favourite NBA star. I saw him dribble well and perform an amazing slam dunk."
James, who hit the headlines this summer by quitting the Miami Heat to return to his original team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, is on a five-day tour of greater China and also visited Beijing and Guangzhou. He is in Taiwan today and tomorrow for events in Taipei and Kaohsiung.