2007 NBA Draft Draws Increased Global Interest

-The Draft to Reach Fans in 115 Countries in 18 Languages-

NEW YORK, June 26 – An unprecedented number of international media will converge in New York City to attend the 2007 NBA Draft which will be televised to fans in 115 countries in 18 languages.

Chinese Basketball Association star Yi Jianlian, of the Guangdong Southern Tigers, is one of many international players who are eligible for the 2007 NBA Draft. Yi is widely recognized as the best basketball talent to come from China since Yao Ming, the first pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. A record 30 media members from China will be on-site.

To capitalize on the excitement in China, CCTV, China’s national TV station, will be on-site to produce a live program featuring Yi. This marks the first time CCTV, a 20-year NBA TV partner, will produce a live program on-site at the Draft. Guangdong TV will be televising the Draft for the first time. Yi hails from Guangdong.

“Although Guangdong TV has been broadcasting NBA games for the past 15 years, this is the first time the NBA Draft is being broadcast live in the Guangdong area,” said Mr. Lu Xiaofeng, Guangdong TV Sports Head. “In order to present the best Draft coverage to the fans we will be sending a three person crew to New York for on site reporting. Our country is proud of the potential draftees from China and hope they get selected early in the draft.”

Another expected first round pick with international appeal is Joakim Noah, a two-time NCAA Champion with the Florida Gators and son of French tennis legend Yannick Noah. Fans in France will receive comprehensive NBA Draft coverage including a special feature on Canal+France. The feature will highlight Joakim, his father and his grandfather, Zacharie Noah, a former professional soccer player in France, who will accompany Joakim at the Draft.

"This is going to be huge in France because Noah is expected to be picked higher than previous French NBA stars, Tony Parker and Boris Diaw,” said Samyr Hamoudi, Reporter, Canal+ France. “Since Noah's father is loved in France and they are considered a family sports dynasty, people in France are very excited to follow Joakim in the NBA."

Other top international prospects include Tiago Splitter (Brazil), Rudy Fernandez, brother of WNBA rookie guard Marta Fernandez of the Los Angeles Sparks, and Marc Gasol, brother of Memphis Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol (Spain), Marco Belinelli (Italy) and Petteri Koponen (Finland). Players from countries such as Croatia, Turkey, Bosnia, Latvia, Serbia, Australia, Ukraine and Lithuania have also been mentioned as potential draft picks. In the 2006 NBA Draft, 17 international players were selected.

This past season, a record 85 international players from 37 countries and territories were on NBA rosters and a record 60 international players from 28 countries competed in the Playoffs. A record nine international players competed in the NBA Finals, Dirk Nowitzki became the first European regular season MVP winner and Tony Parker became the first European, and third international player, to win NBA Finals MVP honors.

About the NBA
The NBA, founded in 1946, is a global sports and entertainment brand that features 30 teams in the United States and Canada. During the 2006-07 season, the NBA distributed 45,000 hours of programming to 215 countries and territories in 41 languages. The league’s worldwide reach can also be seen with 85 international players on NBA rosters. Domestically, the NBA broadcasted 142 games on national television last season on ABC, TNT, ESPN and ESPN2, and eclipsed attendance records for the fourth consecutive season.

NBA TV, launched in 1999 as the first 24-hour television channel created and operated by a professional sports league, is distributed to 73 countries. NBA merchandise is sold in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents; NBA.com gets more than half of its visitors from outside the United States.

NBA Cares is the league's social responsibility initiative that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this umbrella program, the NBA, its teams and players have committed to donating $100 million to charity, providing a million hours of hands on service to the community and creating 250 places where kids and families can live, learn or play. NBA Cares works with internationally-recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: UNICEF; the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.