Local 10's Will Manso blogs from China as the Miami Heat take on the Los Angeles Clippers in on October 11 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing and October 14 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
OCTOBER 10 - 2:08 AM (2:08 PM BEIJING)
If I can take a moment to give our station a kudos before I get to the business of the Heat here in China.
Very rarely am I impressed by something on TV anymore. After over 15 years in the business, I thought I'd seen it all. That is until today in Beijing.
Our 11pm newscast happened to be at the same time the Heat were headed to practice. Our crew was on the Heat staff bus, so we decided to try a live shot from inside the bus on the ride over. It's too complicated to explain the technology, but simply put, the live report worked.
To think, we can send you a live picture, with good quality, from inside of a moving bus in Beijing, China is pretty insane to me. Again, kudos to our station for showing the commitment and guts to pull that off. It's probably the coolest thing I've ever done in the business.
Okay, now on to the basketball.
Today was the first day that Chinese media was allowed into practice and it seemed like the NBA Finals all over again. The only difference is this was media only from Asia.
All the players were surrounded by dozens of media members and it was a wild scene. It was me and Joe Goodman of the Miami Herald representing the American journalists, so we were outnumbered about 100.
Joking aside, it was great to see all the attention, and the players seemed to enjoy it. Like Erik Spoesltra said before practice, this is all positive attention. The people of China have a real passion for the purity of the game and the stars that make up the NBA.
Practice wrapped up about 2pm local time here in Beijing. Now it's off to a huge event for Dwyane Wade's sneaker launch. It's a Chinese company, so it's a very big deal here.
I'll give you all the details and highlights after it's all done. Talk soon from Beijing.
OCTOBER 9 - 10:33 AM (10:33 PM BEIJING) - Wow. What a day in Beijing. You want to talk about eventful? We saw a little bit of everything today, so let's start from the top.
I was warned about the jet-lag following a 14-hour plane ride and 12-hour time change. Well, let's just say everyone was right!
Heat forward Shane Battier told me before the trip not to be surprised if I woke up at 3:30 am on my first day and hit the gym. He was only off by an hour. My body was so wired to the time back home that I woke up restless at 4:30 am in China. Remember, we're 12 hours AHEAD here, so I felt like it was 4:30 pm.
Battier was very right, because I found myself at the hotel gym for an extremely early workout.
Speaking of working out, that's where the Heat started their day.
The team held its first practice since arriving in China. They got a "light" practice in at the MasterCard Center, site of the exhibition game here in Beijing against the Clippers.
I say "light" because most of the team, like everyone else on the trip, was still adjusting to the time change. Head coach Erik Spoesltra called it productive, and Dwyane Wade hinted he would be able to play in the game. He missed the preseason opener because the team is taking it easy with him while he recovers from offseason knee surgery.
From the practice, the players took a quick shower in the arena and headed over for a brief tour of the Summer Palace. The trip was more about taking a team picture at this historic spot. They joked and smiled during the picture in what players expected to be one of the bonding moments of the trip.
I was surprised to see the crowds act so calm the entire time. For some reason, I expected a mob scene or something wild. Instead, the hundreds of fans following the team around the location snapped pictures but never got too pushy. The players stopped for numerous pictures with fans. Their was a heavy police presence to make sure nothing got out of control, but it never did.
This was the team's first chance to feel like rock stars during the trip. I walked from behind the players and you can just see the waves of people walking, running and following the players every move. But again, it was all done in a very organized manner.
LeBron James, in particular, seemed to really enjoy the location. He was taking pictures and shooting video the entire time.