Wed, Jul 23, 2014 - Page 20 News List

James begins Asia tour with a ‘piano dunk’

TAIWAN TARGET:The US basketballer is in China on a promotional tour. He is set to stop in Macau and Hong Kong and is then scheduled to visit Taipei and Kaohsiung

AP, BEIJING

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James plays with a basketball during a promotional event at a store in Guangzhou, China, yesterday. James is on a tour of Asian countries that is scheduled to bring him to Taiwan.

Photo: Reuters

LeBron James began his tour of Asia on Monday by exchanging gifts with another former child prodigy.

He is scheduled to visit Taiwan to conclude the tour, with stops in Kaohsiung and Taipei.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star was greeted by pianist Lang Lang at the Wukesong Sports Center in Beijing in front of hundreds of basketball fans.

The two exchanged gifts, with Lang Lang receiving a pair of basketball shoes and James getting an album of Lang Lang’s music and a CD with the FIFA Brazil World Cup theme music.

The two stars also played the piano together — a “piano dunk,” as Lang Lang called it.

“Every time I come here, the game of basketball grows more and more,” James told the crowd. “It’s been great all the way from before I came to 2008 Beijing Olympics and all the way now for me to come back in 2014. The game continues to rise, and I think that’s amazing.”

The five-day trip is sponsored by Nike. James is also to visit Guangzhou in China, before moving on to Hong Kong.

“I am very blessed, and the game of basketball has given me everything and more than I can dream of to my family, myself and my friends, and that’s why for me, I always give everything I can to the game, when I am on the basketball floor, both on and off court, because it has given me so much things that I never dreamed about,” James said.

“I always dreamed about being in the NBA and wearing an NBA uniform, but being known all over the world, I have never dreamed about that, but basketball has given me that and I don’t take it for granted,” the player said.

Earlier this month, James left the Miami Heat after four seasons and four trips to the NBA Finals and re-signed with the Cavaliers, where his career began.

While with the Heat, the team won two championships, in 2012 and last year. This season they were beaten in the finals by the San Antonio Spurs.

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