The National Basketball Association (NBA), Mengniu and Shandong TV today announced the launch of the NBA’s first-ever reality show, Mengniu NBA Basketball Disciple. A preview of the show was screened today at a press conference attended by Vice President of NBA China, Mr. David Yang, Managing Director Television & Digital Media NBA China, Ms. Kathy Sun, Vice President of Mengniu Group, Mr. Bai Ying, Chief Editor of Shandong TV, Ms. Zhu Lihua and NBA Legend Darryl Dawkins.

The reality show will follow a three-month basketball competition that begins filming tomorrow with public tryouts in 64 cities throughout mainland China.  The players will compete in a variety of skills competitions and be awarded points based on performance over the course of four rounds. Following a final All-Star Game in the last round, the player with the most cumulative points will be crowned the Most Valuable Player of the competition and win an all-expenses-paid trip to the United States for a tryout with a team from the NBA Development League, the NBA’s official minor league.

NBA Legends and scouts, along with an NBA coach, will appear throughout the series to run competitions, evaluate players, award points and determine which competitors advance to the next round. An NBA mascot and dance team will be onsite to provide entertainment for NBA fans.

Shandong TV Satellite Channel will air a 50-minute episode every Friday from May 22 to August 21 at 9:30 PM local time. A final 90-minute awards ceremony show will air live on August 28 and feature Chinese celebrities as presenters and performers.

The basketball competition will consist of four rounds:

* Round 1: Public “Open” Tryouts: Aspiring basketball players 18 years and older who are not currently under professional contract in each of the 64 cities are invited to come participate in a basketball skills challenge.  The participants will be awarded points for their performance during dribbling, shooting, layups and defensive drills. The top 50 to 60 participants, based on points, in each city will advance to the second round.

* Round 2: Preliminary Round: A series of one-day elimination events will take place in ten cities attended by an NBA scout in each market.  The scouts will help select two to three players in each city and 24 total participants will advance to the third round.

* Round 3: Training Camp: An NBA assistant coach and NBA legend will host a vigorous three-day NBA-style training camp for the remaining 24 participants. The coach and legend will assign points for different drills including passing and rebounding, offensive concepts and transition, strength and conditioning, shooting, ball handling and defensive concepts. The top 16 participants will advance to the final round – an All-Star Game.

* Round 4: All-Star Game: The eight finalists from southern China compete against the eight finalists from northern China in an All-Star Game.  The player who has accumulated the most points throughout the entire competition, following the All-Star Game, will be named the competition’s Most Valuable Player and win a D-League tryout.

“We hope our fans in China are as excited as we are because the NBA’s first-ever reality show in China will give talented Chinese amateur players the opportunity to play for a D-League tryout,” said Mr. Tim Chen, CEO of NBA China. “Fans can follow the competition up close through coverage on Shandong TV and with the help of our partner, Mengniu, we’ve created a grassroots event and reality series that we hope will appeal to basketball fans and Chinese pop culture on a variety of levels.”

Mengniu, an NBA marketing partner since 2007, will be prominently featured throughout the series via onsite branding, product integration, media and promotion.

“Since our partnership began in 2007, Mengniu has been a strong advocate that sports and nutrition are essential to healthy living,” said Vice President of Mengniu Group Mr. Bai Ying. “Collaborating with the NBA in the creation of this new reality show is a continuation of this mission and we pledge to present a wonderful basketball show to fans in China.”

Shandong TV will promote the reality series with nearly 2,500 promos and Public Service Announcements from April 2 to Aug. 28.

“We are very happy to be the official TV broadcaster of Mengniu NBA Basketball Disciple and we believe the show will create a basketball frenzy all over the nation,” said Chief Editor of Shandong TV, Ms. Zhu Lihua “The reality show will give real fans a chance to spread the positive message that healthy living, fitness, hard work and dedication can make your dreams come true.”