NBA All-Star Kevin Durant touched down in Guangzhou today, where he was welcomed by a swarm of excited fans outside a five-star hotel in Zhujiang New Town at around 11.30am. Once Durant entered the building, fans decked out in Nike swag eagerly lingered around the hotel where his vehicle was parked, in hopeful anticipation of his return.
Hot off his second NBA title with the Golden State Warriors, the small forward is back for the third time in Guangzhou.
While the reason for his visit is unclear, we speculate that he is here to continue promoting his Nike partnership and encourage youth engagement with the sport, as his previous appearances in China have all been supported by his deal with the iconic brand. Not to mention, Nike representatives were in abundance around the property.
Durant first visited China in 2009, but only traveled to Hong Kong for an NBA-sponsored trip. He then returned in 2010 for a three-city tour – stopping in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu – to promote his partnership with Nike.
"It was a great experience for me, something that I can't take for granted and something that I'm always going to remember," he said after his first visit to the Chinese mainland, according to NewsOK.
It wasn’t until his third visit, in 2011, that he made it to Guangzhou. For two days, Durant – or ‘Schoolbag Du,’ as he is referred to in China – engaged with fans, coached aspiring ballers and watched some games before heading to Wuhan and Beijing.
Durant clearly digs the Middle Kingdom: he returned in 2012, visiting Shanghai, Xi’an and Hong Kong; again in 2013, hitting Shanghai, Shenyang and Taipei; and again in 2016, touring Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei.
Rumor has it the NBA MVP is only in the city for one night, so keep your eyes peeled!