Many NBA superstars have been looking overseas to Europe and China in an effort to extend their playing careers.
James told the Heat media before Miami’s pre season game against the Atlanta Hawks that he has no intentions of playing overseas once his NBA career ends. James’s statement came as the Heat were also preparing to fly to China to play a two game series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
China has become a viable options for players that can’t land a roster spot on NBA teams. This trend has accelerated thanks to the 2011 NBA lockout when players signed with Chinese teams while waiting for the league owners and the NBA Players Association to come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement. Recently, Tracy McGrady wrote a letter that read like a goodbye to fans on his website stating that he would be playing in China. McGrady is well known in the country due to playing alongside national icon Yao Ming on the Houston Rockets.
James stated that he wants to play in the best basketball league in the world for his entire career and that the NBA fits that criteria. He would be arguably the most popular player in China if he changes his mind thanks in part to him winning a gold medal with Team USA in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
It was during those games that another NBA superstar, Kobe Bryant, stated that he was flirting with the prospect of playing in Europe after his current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers ended. However in a recent podcast interview with Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Bryant put that to rest and said that would retire after his Laker contract expires.