Harrison Barnes saw first-hand the love affair fans in China have with the NBA

ARLINGTON – A little over a week ago, Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes saw first-hand how much fans in China love the National Basketball Association.

Barnes was in China to celebrate the NBA Finals with Chinese fans and to help support the continued growth of basketball in China. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyler Kuzma and former San Antonio Spurs superstar David Robinson joined Barnes in spreading some NBA cheer in China.

“China was good,” said Barnes, speaking from the Mavs Overnight Camp at the University of Texas-Arlington on Monday morning. “I was there for about five days.”

While in China, Barnes helped conduct two basketball clinics that the NBA put on. He also had a viewing party and watched Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers with a host of Chinese fans, and walked away impressed by their knowledge and enthusiasm of the game.

“It was pretty cool to kind of see where the game is in different countries and the excitement and the passion,” Barnes said. “That was pretty cool to watch that.”

Another reason Barnes flew to China was to help promote two preseason games the Mavs will play there in October against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Mavs will face the Sixers on Oct. 5 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, and will also play the Sixers on Oct. 8 at the Shenzhen Universiade Center in Shenzhen.

“I went to the spot where we’re going to play in Shenzhen, I didn’t go to the place where we’re going to play in Shanghai,” Barnes said. “We’re getting ready for those preseason games come October, so it was good to go out there to see that.

“The fans are extremely excited for those games. And obviously Philly is a good team, so it’ll be a good test for us before the season.”

Since the two games in China will be the Mavs’ first preseason games next fall right after the beginning of training camp, Barnes pointed to their overall value beyond what’s occurring on the basketball court.

“It’ll be good team bonding as well,” Barnes said. “We’ll be over there for nine days, so that’ll be good for us to kind of get out of the states and bond a little bit.

“We’ll have less games, but hopefully that time will help us bond.”