THE Birmingham Bullets have received an invitation to play in a Chinese Basketball Association endorsed International Tournament featuring professional clubs from Europe and China in May 2006.
Invited as British basketball's representative, the Bullets will join other European clubs, Nijmegen Matrixx Magix and Groningen MPC Capital of the Dutch Eredivisie, along with Alba Berlin from the German Bundesliga.
The European representatives will be joined by nine clubs from the CBA, China's top division.
A delighted Bullets owner, Craig Bown said: "This is great news for the club and for British Basketball. "We have put a lot of effort in to promoting international links for the BBL, UK sport and business over the last three years and we hope this is one of many opportunities to come out of the partner-ships we have built."
The tournament is being organized and managed by HYBY Event & Marketing of Beijing as part of preparations for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
To overcome the vast distances that teams would be required to travel, the event will be in a North and South Conference format which will see North Solihull Sports Centre-based Bullets joining Groningen MPC Capital in the Northern Conference.
Their Chinese opposition in the Northern Conference will include long time friends the Shandong Goldstone Lions, the Xin Jiang Tigers and the Henan Dragons.
The Bullets could also come face-to-face with former star player Trey Moore who is currently lighting it up for Shan Xi Dongsheng, who complete the Northern Conference line up.
Coach Skouson Harker, who toured China with the Bullets earlier this year, said: 'It will be great to play in front of the crowds; I was amazed at the passion there is for basketball in China when we were there in June. "Plus, the chance to play the leading teams from Germany and Holland will give us a good opportunity to see how far we have progressed."
The Bullets can be seen in action next at the North Solihull Sports centre on Saturday 3, tip off 7.00pm, when they take on BBL newcomers Guildford Heat.