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Yao Ming, Rockets headed to China for preseason games. Nets get to tag along.

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Fans in China have stayed up in the middle of the night to watch Yao Ming play for the Houston Rockets. And at the same time vote for the rest of the Rockets to be on the All-Star Team, whether they deserved it or not.

Now, they finally get to see him play live.

The Houston Rockets and New Jersey Nets will play two preseason games in China --Oct. 13 in Beijing at the new arena built in that city for the Olympics, then again Oct. 16 at the Guangzhou International Sports Arena. While there the two teams will do other events to promote the sport with the Chinese Basketball Association.

The NBA has been going to China for years now, but the Rockets and Yao have not been since 2004.

In trying to grow the game internationally, the NBA has had a special eye on the fast-growing (and massive) market in China. Bringing Yao back home to play will certainly create a huge buzz there. (This game and these teams may have been selected before the Nets traded China’s Yi Jianlian to the Wizards this summer.)

The Nets are really going to get some passport stamps this season. China in October then in March they will play two regular-season games in London.