China and Hongkun Group announced the opening of the country's first NBA-themed lifestyle complex in Wuqing, Tianjin on April 25. Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, NBA China's CEO David Shoemaker, NBA China's CFO Wayne Chang and Hongkun Group's president Yuan Chun participated in the opening ceremony.
NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins gives the children a basketball course at the new NBA Center. (Photos: Courtesy of NBA China)
"NBA China will continue to provide an active and healthy lifestyle to basketball fans in Beijing and Tianjin alongside Hongkun Group, the Tianjin government and the Wuqing district government," Shoemaker said during the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Chang hailed the event as a milestone in the game's development in China.
"The opening of the NBA Center marks another key milestone in the NBA's efforts to bring the game of basketball to fans in China through unique experiences and interactive destinations," he said.
"We're excited to join the NBA in building this unique, family-friendly destination that caters to basketball fans. We can't wait to share the excitement of the game with individuals and families who desire a healthy and aspirational lifestyle," Yuan said.
Officials of NBA China, officials of Hongkun Group and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins at the opening ceremony of the NBA Center in Tianjin
The center covers 12,000 square meters and offers fans regulation-sized basketball courts for recreational use, a basketball-themed children's entertainment center with interactive games and an NBA retail store.
The opening ceremony was followed by a series of activities, including a coaching session with Wilkins in the NBA Playzone and a slam dunk contest at the NBA Hoops basketball courts.
The NBA Center will also host the inaugural Jr. NBA World Championship China regional finals. The seven-day competition will determine the 10 best boys and 10 best girls to represent China in the first Jr. NBA World Championship later this year.