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A New Ballgame: WTA's David Shoemaker Named CEO Of NBA's China Division

March 16, 2011: The NBA has had a presence in China for more than three decades, but has really ramped up efforts since the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.  

In a move to continue to enhance its presence there, NBA commissioner David Stern said that David Shoemaker, president of the Women’s Tennis Assn., has been named CEO of NBA China, effective June 1.

As NBA China CEO, Shoemaker will oversee all of the league’s business and basketball development in Greater China. The WTA did not release any details regarding filling Shoemaker's position.

NBA China is governed by a board of directors that includes NBA owners, representatives of strategic investors, Stern, NBA deputy commissioner and COO Adam Silver, former NBA China CEO Tim Chen and Heidi Ueberroth, who is president of NBA International.

When NBA China was launched in 2008, Stern said that "the opportunity for basketball and the NBA in China is simply extraordinary.” Since then, several NBA teams and players have toured the nation. Kobe Bryant has the best-selling NBA jersey in China, surpassing even local hero Yao Ming, according to NBA sales figures.

In addition, a growing number of NBA players are signing shoe deals with China-based companies, including 2010 No. 2 overall draft pick Evan Turner, who signed with Li-Ning, joining Shaquille O'Neal and Baron Davis; Kevin Garnett with Anta and Jason Kidd with Peak. In addition, NBA veteran Stephon Marbury, who is in the midst of a three-year deal with Shanxi Zhongyu in the Chinese Basketball Assn., where under terms of his contract he is creating a company to sell his line of Starbury basketball shoes.

“I have been able to witness first-hand the immense popularity of basketball and the success of the NBA in China," Shoemaker said in a statement. "I look forward to building on the impressive infrastructure already in place and leading the league and the game of basketball to new heights in the country.”

"I look forward to building on the impressive infrastructure already in place and leading the league and basketball to new heights in the country.”

According to commissioner Stern, “David Shoemaker has the right combination of experience, talent and leadership ability, making him an ideal choice to serve as CEO of NBA China. The game and our business in China have expanded dramatically since NBA China’s launch in 2008, and David has the necessary skills to lead our talented team in continuing our growth.”  

Shoemaker will join Steve Richard, who resumes his position as NBA China’s CFO after serving as interim CEO; and COO Collins Qian, "to continue NBA China’s success in developing the league’s business and helping to accelerate basketball’s growth in the country," according to the NBA.

Shoemaker  joined the WTA in 2004 as general counsel and was appointed WTA President in August 2009, where he was responsible for all global operations of the tour. For WTA China, he oversaw all of the tour’s television, digital, and sponsorship relationships and development, as well as community and government relations.

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