Food for thought as Heat arrive in Beijing
Miami prepare for games against LA Clippers in capital and Shanghai
LeBron James is visiting China for the ninth time, which makes him one of the resident Miami Heat experts. Specifically, the food choices.
“If anyone comes back with any body fat from this trip, then I don’t know what they were doing in their free time,” said James, the NBA’s MVP.
So maybe it’s fortunate this week won’t include a lot of free time for the Heat, who arrived in Beijing on Monday night for a week-long trip. The reigning league champions play the Los Angeles Clippers twice during the NBA China Games, starting in Beijing on Thursday and then again on Sunday in Shanghai.
“Should be fun,” James said. “It’s a very long trip to be bonding together, but we’re going to use it and not waste an opportunity.”
The itinerary is hectic, with VIP receptions, a trip to the Great Wall and other excursions planned. The Heat are trying to ensure players and personnel have time to experience some elements of Chinese culture on their own.
“You only have these type of opportunities so often,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You want to take advantage of it. This is the preseason. We understand the big picture. It’s a great programme the NBA runs when you have an opportunity to play overseas. Our last trip was tremendous when we went to Europe. Great team building, and you get to see another part of the world and do it together.”
The Heat played games in France and England during the 2008 preseason against the Nets, who then called New Jersey home.
Miami left on Saturday for Atlanta, played the Hawks in the preseason opener for both teams on Sunday, then boarded a charter flight to Beijing, one that lasted a little more than 14 hours.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “I think as an organisation, as players individually, it will be a great opportunity to continue to grow our game.”
Meanwhile, seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady is close to sealing a one-year deal to play for Qingdao DoubleStar with an announcement expected within days, a team official said.