2007 NBA Draft Draws Increased Global Interest

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.

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