NBA China matches just a great wall for Rivers

LOS ANGELES • Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is taking his National Basketball Association (NBA) team to China for a couple of exhibition games, says if given a choice, he would rather keep his players at home.

"No, I'd never go," he told the Los Angeles Times when asked if the two-game trip was something he was in favour of.

The Clippers are playing another NBA franchise, the Charlotte Hornets, tomorrow in Shenzhen and again three days later in Shanghai.

The pre-season fixture in Shenzhen will be the first NBA game played in the south-eastern city as the league attempts to grow the game in China. It will also mark the first time that Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, will be playing with an NBA team in China.

But, when asked what he is looking forward to the most about visiting the region, Rivers quipped: "The flight coming home."

The Clippers are also scheduled to take part in some community events in those cities that will include NBA legend and Hornets owner Michael Jordan.

Rivers said that when it comes to international travel, he would prefer his team to travel to places like Rome because of the city's historical significance.

"Going to the Vatican, going to the Colosseum, it was like warrior stuff," he said. "You couldn't have scripted a more perfect place for a team that had championship aspirations to go to."

Clippers star forward Blake Griffin is also not thrilled about the trip because he has already visited China. "Personally, I like going to new places," he said.

Not everyone was opposed to the trip, though. Guard Lance Stephenson sees it as a chance to learn about a different culture and make some friends.

After China, the Clippers host reigning champions Golden State Warriors on Oct 20.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2015, with the headline 'NBA China matches just a great wall for Rivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe