Wizards return to Beijing 30 years later
August 28, 2009 | Posted by Chris
30 years after a groundbreaking diplomatic visit, the Washington Wizards NBA team is returning to Beijing in early September, Xinhua News reports. Then known as the Washington Bullets, Deng Xiaoping invited the team to China in 1979, shortly after ties with the US were normalized, making the Bullets the first NBA team to visit. This trip will include franchise veterans who participated in the first trip as well as presently active players. Chinese ambassador Zhou Wenzhong said, "It's significant that the Wizards pay a return visit to China, commemorating the special 30th anniversary between China and the United States." Caron Butler, referring to a famous Mao Zedong quote (不到长城非好汉 or búdào chángchéng fēi hǎohàn), explained, "I know that there is an old Chinese saying 'He who does not reach the Great Wall is not a true man'...I am a NBA player and I want to be a true man, so I have to reach the Great Wall."