The Heat will travel to China next week for two preseason games against the LA Clippers, and fans in the country are basketball-crazy, perhaps even more so than in America. Hell, they worship Shane Battier. Seriously, dude's face is apparently plastered all over billboards, and he's nicknamed "Mr. President."
Oh, sure, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are popular in the country too. LeBron is known as "Da Huang Di" (AKA Big Emperor), and Wade is switching out his affiliation with the Air Jordan Brand for a Chinese shoe company. In China, though, Battier might be the third member of the big three, and not Chris Bosh.
"I think I'm third behind [James and Wade] in China because of my longevity and my relationship with China,'' Battier told Fox Sports Florida.
See, Battier used to play on the Houston Rockets with Yao Ming. So Chinese fans got a lot of exposure to Battier during that time, and he started doing endorsement deals in the country.
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In fact, you might not even know that Battier has his own shoe. He does. It's for a brand called Peak, and it's sold almost exclusively in China.
"Growing up, every kid dreams of having their own shoe," he said. "And the fact that mine is mostly sold in China doesn't bother me. It's kind of cool.''
Battier spends some of his summertime in the country, discussing plans with Peak and holding news conferences. Apparently that gives off a political aura to fans, hence the "Mr. President" nickname.