Rockets, Pelicans will travel to China for exhibition games next fall

Associated Press

The Houston Rockets have long had a huge following in China — they were the team of Yao Ming.

Now they are heading back to China to play, the 10th time the NBA has sent teams to China for a preseason game.

The Rockets will take on the New Orleans Pelicans Oct. 9 in Yao’s hometown of Shanghai at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, followed by a rematch in Beijing on Oct. 12 at The LeSports Center.

“We are proud of the special bond our team has with the Chinese fans, and we know the atmosphere at the games will be electrifying,” the Rockets’ James Harden said in a released statement.

This is the first time the Rockets have returned to Shanghai since Yao’s team was there in 2004. This will be New Orleans’ first trip to China.

As always, the NBA has made sure there will be big stars for these Chinese games — Harden of the Rockets, and Anthony Davis of the Pelicans should be on hand. Also, there will be numerous off-the-court activities from the NBA, such as the Fan Appreciation Day presented by Dongfeng Nissan on Oct. 7 in Shanghai.