Timberwolves to play preseason NBA Global Games in China

It has been nearly 20 years since the Timberwolves have played a game in Asia, but that will change next year.
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The Minnesota Timberwolves will be headed to China in 2017.

The NBA announced that the Wolves will meet up with Golden State for a pair of NBA Global Games in China next season.

"We are thrilled to have been chosen to play in the NBA Global Games, a testament to the growing relevancy and popularity of the Timberwolves overseas," said Timberwolves and Lynx CEO Ethan Casson in a statement. "The NBA is seeing remarkable growth in China and it's great to have our players in front of their incredible basketball fans."

The Wolves will play the first game Oct. 5 in Shenzhen at the Shenzhen Universiade Center. Then they'll play again Oct. 8 in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.

It's the first time the Wolves have played a game in Asia since they opened the 1999 season with a game against Sacramento in Tokyo.

The Timberwolves have been working to grow their brand internationally – especially in China. Wolves stars Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine have all made recent marketing trips to China as part of their shoe endorsements.

"It's a great privilege for me and my teammates to play in China for the first time in our franchise's history," said Towns in a statement Monday. "When I visited last summer, I was amazed at the passion that Chinese fans have for the game of basketball. Traveling to China with my teammates and coaches will be a fantastic experience."

The team also notes that it's the first team of any major U.S. sports league to add a Chinese minority owner – Lizhang Jiang.

The Wolves have also seen growth in the Chinese media market. This season a total of seven Timberwolves games are airing on the Chinese television network CCTV and 25 games will stream for free through Chinese media company Tencent.

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