Sixers to face Dallas Mavericks in China next season

Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP Joel Embiid and Dario Saric go after the ball during the Sixers’ last trip overseas: a matchup vs. the Celtics in London. Philadelphia will play two preseason games against Dallas in China this year.

The 76ers will play the Dallas Mavericks in a pair of preseason games in China as part of the NBA China Games 2018.

The teams will play at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on Oct. 5. Three days later, they’ll meet again at the Shenzhen Universiade Center in Shenzhen.

The NBA China Games started in 2004. The Sixers and Mavericks will become the 16th and 17th teams to compete in the event.

“This is an incredible opportunity to showcase the Philadelphia 76ers in front of some of the most passionate fans in the world in China,” Sixers co-managing partner Josh Harris said in a statement. “We appreciate the opportunity the NBA has provided us to compete on such a global state, and look forward to bringing our dynamic, diverse roster to one of the league’s fastest-growing markets.”

Playing overseas is nothing new to Sixers. They suffered a 114-103 regular-season loss to the Boston Celtics on Jan. 11 at the O2 Arena in London.

Before then, the Sixers went overseas during the 2013-14 preseason. They played Bilbao Basket in Bilbao, Spain, on Oct. 6, 2013. Two days later, they faced the Oklahoma City Thunder in Manchester, England.

The team’s other NBA global basketball game trips were to Mexico, Puerto Rico and Germany.

“Getting a chance to play all over the world has always been a dream of mine,” rookie Ben Simmons said, “and I’m excited to play in China in October.

“I know the fans there are passionate about basketball, and I’m really looking forward to the trip to Shanghai and Shenzhen.”

The Sixers are hopeful their participation in the global games will continue. They would love to make appearances in Africa and Australia.

With head coach Brett Brown having lived in Australia for 17 years and seven international players — two of whom are the team’s best players — the Sixers are building a global brand.

With Joel Embiid, who hails from the Cameroon, and Simmons, a native of Melbourne, Australia, it makes sense why the Sixers would want to play in those countries. It also makes sense for the NBA to continue featuring them overseas regardless of the country.

Dario Saric (Croatia), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (France), Marco Belinelli (Italy), Ersan Ilyasova (Turkey), and Furkan Korkmaz (Turkey) are the Sixers’ other international players.

“We pride ourselves on the unique, international culture we have created here in Philadelphia,” Brown said. “It’s something that we pay close attention to and it resonates throughout our roster, front office and staff.

“We are excited to bring our team to China in the fall and connect with the truly great fans of a basketball-rich country.”

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