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.

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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