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Chinese consulate hosts Nets in prelim to NBA China Games

As part of the run-up to the NBA China Games in Shanghai and Shenzhen next month, a delegation of Nets players and executives —including the head of Joe Tsai’s investment firm— visited the Chinese Consulate Wednesday.

Tsai’s executive, Oliver Weisberg, and Sean Marks led the group. Spencer Dinwiddie, Garrett Temple, Nic Claxon, and Theo Pinson, along with several administrative staff, were hosted by Huang Ping, the Chinese Consul General in New York, in the consulate building, according to Xinhua, the big Chinese news agency. The Nets play the Lakers October 10 in Shanghai and October 12 in Shenzhen.

In a brief welcome speech, Huang explained to his American guests the Chinese tradition of celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival by looking at the full moon and eating mooncakes. A full plate of mooncakes was then served to the group.

Beijing Review, an English-language online magazine, tweeted out a video from the event, including the sampling of mooncakes...

“I think sports is a very, very important bridge to connect the people across the Pacific,” said Huang, who was presented a customized Nets jersey.

”Although there are some problems in the political field between China and the United States, I’m not worried about that. When I see you guys are going there, I know people’s exchange would continue and people would have the final say of diplomacy,” Huang said.

Dinwiddie responded by promising the Nets contingent will “do nothing but great things” for the U.S.-China ties.

”Sports is universal so I think it’s one of those things that connect people. It’s something regardless of borders or regardless of our nationalities. It’s something that brings us together,” said Dinwiddie who was recently in China for endorsements and a charity game.

Tsai, co-founder of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, sent his greetings through a video, thanking the consulate general for its hospitality.

”I hope Chinese basketball fans could enjoy the highest level of American basketball through the games, and I also hope the Nets could have an amazing journey in China and promote the cultural exchanges between our two countries,” he said.

The inclusion of Weisberg in the delegation is yet another indication of the impending transfer of organizational control from Mikhail Prokhorov to Tsai. Weisberg is Managing Partner for Blue Pool Capital, Tsai’s investment vehicle based in Hong Kong. He is also the alternate governor for the New York Liberty on the WNBA Board of Governors. His role with the Nets has yet to be disclosed.