The ancient capital city of Chengdu been host to many royalties and foreign dignitaries in the past. But never an aristocratic figure like LeBron James. On this, the second leg of his 2011 Basketball Tour across the Middle Kingdom, James stopped over a local Nike Store for the official unveiling of his new Nike Air Max Ambassador IV and signature Nike Sportswear collection. As a good well exchange, the city of Chengdu presented the Miami Heat player with a traditional painted scroll featuring the region’s treasured mascot, the giant panda. A follow-up briefing with local media outlets saw a visit from Jason Petrie, the designer behind many LeBron James signature footwear, including the new Nike Air Max Ambassador IV.
Then it was off to the courts for the next 2 days. First up, a showdown between the best of Chengdu youth basketball league as King James held court at the local Chengdu Houzimen outdoor basketball field for Nike Summer Nights King of the Court competition. As there can only be one winner, the victorious Chengdu Blue Team secured a place at this week’s Nike Festival of Sports in Shanghai and pairs of Nike Zoom LeBron Soldiers. Talented individuals joined in for the top prize as well, with sequence of shooting and dunk contests judged by James along with 4 local celebrities.
Day 2 saw James in the repeated roles of coach and player, in drills with players on the 2011 Nike Summer Ballers Network Basketball Tournament and on sideline as coach to the 48 talented participants who will compete in this week’s Nike Festival of Sports. For many, it was the first time to see real life application of their drilling practices, which made it all the more unique experience. Before heading off to the city of Xi’an, James stopped off for two final visits – Chengdu’s WuHou Temple and the Giant Panda reserve.