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October 12, 2016

Adam Silver

Shanghai, China

ADAM SILVER: We all saw a fantastic game in Shanghai. The game was hotly contested, and the Rockets just managed to win at the very end of the game.

Basketball has never been more popular here in China, and we have fantastic plans to continue growing the game here and around the world.

As part of those plans to continue growing the game, tonight we're here to make a formal announcement, and that is the launching of NBA Academies around the world to train elite young players. These academies mark our most significant investment in training young people, boys and girls, young men and young women, to be elite players, and we're going to focus not just on the game of basketball, but we'll be training them holistically to be complete players.

We can't imagine a better place to launch these NBA Academies than here in China, and we are going to be launching with three academies. We will be launching these NBA Academies in partnership with three sports bureaus that are all represented here today.

I'd like to extend my gratitude and special appreciation to Mr. Li [Chinese Basketball Association Vice President Li Jinsheng], my good friend from the CBA; Mr. Nie [Nie Chun], from the Xinjiang Basketball Association; Mr. Zhang [Zhang Yadong] from the Jiujiang Sports Vocational Technical Institute; and Mr. Yang [Yang Gang], from the Shandong Basketball Management Center. I apologize if my pronunciation wasn't quite right.

These will be our first elite training centers and will debut in three great Chinese cities, in Hangzhou, Jinan, and Urumqi.

We look forward to welcoming these young prospects to these training academies, and again, I thank you for your partnership.

Please enjoy tonight's game, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Q. I want to know, is the NBA Academy a long-term program, and are you going to bring more international young players into the league through this program?
ADAM SILVER: Thank you for that question. Yes, this will be a long-term program. This is only the beginning, with the launch of these three elite academies in China. But we have plans for many more academies, not just in China but throughout the world. Thank you.

Q. My question is the NBA's huge popularity here in China; we're seeing a couple of new sponsors and media partners during the Global Games here in China. Is the growing of the game of basketball still a major focus for NBA in China?
ADAM SILVER: Thank you for that question. There's nothing more important than continuing to grow the game of basketball here in China, and while we're thankful for the terrific reception we've had in China, it's very important that we give back, as well, and one of our means of giving back is to help develop elite players here, elite players that can play in the CBA, elite players who can bring glory to the country through the national team, and elite players who maybe can play in the National Basketball Association one day.

Q. Mr. Commissioner, before Chinese big guy Yi Jianlian joined the Los Angeles Lakers, and it's been a while that no Chinese player has played in the NBA, so how glad are you to hear the news Yi Jianlian returns to the NBA and represents China again?
ADAM SILVER: Thank you for that question. I'm thrilled to have a Chinese player back in the NBA, and I got to know Yi the first time he played in the NBA, and he's a fine young man, so we look forward to having him back in the league and playing for a great franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers.

But to your point, one of the reasons that, of course, we are creating these elite NBA Academies is to help grow the game here in China by bringing more elite players into the league, and so we can complement the work that's being done by the CBA, by the existing programs, by helping develop players who become NBA caliber, and one of the ways we'll do that through these elite academies is ensuring that these young players who are already getting great training as part of the Chinese system have the opportunity to play against other elite players, other elite Chinese players, and then presumably in the summer, other elite players throughout Asia and maybe around the world. That's what we know from our NBA experience, that in order to develop the best players, in addition to the wonderful training they're getting here already in China, they need to play against top-notch competition, and so that's what we're going to do as an important measure to see more great Chinese players coming into the NBA.

Q. Two questions, actually: The first was about the selection of the cities for the three academies. It was interesting that they are geographically diverse in China, and particularly with Urumqi and Xinjiang province, a little more distant from the main population centers. What went into the selection of the cities, and I know you spoke a little bit in Shanghai about the collective bargaining agreement; if you could take us through some of the next steps that fans and people watching the league can expect over the next few months as discussions on that continue.
ADAM SILVER: Sure, thank you for those questions. In terms of the selections of the provinces and the cities, it came about because of existing relationships that we already had with these gentlemen, with the CBA, and where elite training was already taking place. Again, our plan is this is just the beginning in terms of the development, so we went with the relationships we already had where we had eager partners and where we think we can have the biggest impact, and then we'll go from there. As we begin this program, I'm sure there will be lessons learned in terms of how to improve it and what makes the most sense. That's how we selected these cities.

In terms of the collective bargaining agreement, the next steps are once I return home, and I'll be returning back to the United States tomorrow, we will be resuming our discussions next week, and it's a process where it includes several NBA team owners and meeting with representatives from the Players' Association. Chris Paul has been very active in these discussions; he's the president of the Players' Association; and then Michele Roberts; she's the executive director, her team. We meet and we discuss issues, and we seek to solve problems. Both sides have been very engaged and eager to get a deal done, so it's my hope that we took a little bit of a break for these preseason games.

Michele Roberts traveled, as well; she was in Spain with me for preseason games, and when we return home, we'll pick up where we left off.

Q. Can you talk about former NBA player Stephon Marbury and the impact he's been able to make on Beijing, China? He has a statue, a museum, a movie, a play? He's done some fantastic things here, and I was just wondering what you thought about all of that.
ADAM SILVER: It's been remarkable what Stephon has done as part of the Chinese Basketball Association and playing here in Beijing. Of course for those who don't know, there's a statue of him right outside of this arena. He's led his team to three championships here, and his name comes up all the time in my travels to China. I think he's become part of the fabric of Chinese basketball. He lives, as I understand it, virtually year-round now in China. He's been adopted as a native son, as one of the players here.

And from a personal standpoint, I think it's wonderful to see. Earlier in my career when I was president of NBA Entertainment, Stephon and I had a strong relationship. He did a lot with the league, and I know that when he ended his NBA career, he thought he had a lot more to offer the game of basketball. I think it's wonderful for the game that he's had so much success here, and in fact, I plan to say hello to him later tonight.

Thank you all for being here tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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