Player diary: Kings' Rudy Gay on China, NBA's Global Games and more
With the NBA's annual Global Games underway, SI.com checked in with Sacramento Kings star Rudy Gay, who is currently in Shanghai, China for the first of two exhibitions against the Brooklyn Nets. Below, Gay discusses his trip to China along with his impressions on Kings training camp and Michael Beasley's recent decision to sign with a Chinese team.
Two weeks. That's how much time I've spent at home this offseason. First, I was in Spain with Team USA for the FIBA World Cup, now I'm in China for the NBA's Global Games. Things have been a little crazy, but it's been a pretty amazing summer.
Our trip to China isn't a vacation—it's definitely business. The USA trip showed me how much a team can unite when it's overseas and forced to be around each other so much and depend on one another. You basically have to be a team. These kind of trips really bring teams together.
Not only is the chance to go to China a great experience, but the trip also gives us an opportunity to come together. That's what we really need to do this season in order to improve. When you're in a foreign country, you don't have everything you're used to having back home. But you do have your teammates. It definitely makes us feel more like a family.
The bonding experience began with the flight over. A lot of people play cards and try and do funny things to entertain each other. A few people sleep, but I try and stay awake. I know if I sleep on the plane I'm not going to be able to sleep once I get there, so we just kind of joke around and have fun on the flight. We keep it pretty light-hearted.
You might have seen DeMarcus Cousins' Instagram photo of Nik Stauskas on our flight over. Nik had all of his per diem money out and was taking a picture. Honestly, I think getting the per diem money was the highlight of the trip until we got to China. That might have been the most money he's ever seen. He's Canadian too, so maybe it just looked funny to him.
I've been getting to know DeMarcus a lot better this summer thanks to our trip with Team USA to Spain and now our trip to China. I've also gotten to know some of our new teammates, Ramon Sessions and Darren Collison a little better in the past few days. I liked what I saw in training camp. We are playing together, not being selfish and really competing.
October is kind of a transition month for me. For most of the summer I was playing power forward for Team USA. Now I'm playing more on the perimeter with the Kings and getting back into playing the two and the three. Playing multiple positions has improved my game, but you definitely have a little rust when going from playing down low to on the outside. I really don't have a preference, I'm comfortable playing either way.
Walking around China and seeing the sights is an incredible experience. I've been fortunate enough to visit the country a couple times before on promotional events with Nike. It's just a really cool place. People are really aware of basketball and the NBA over here. It's amazing how much they know about the league. Basketball is my world, so if you can talk basketball we're going to get along great.
Having been here before, I'm trying to teach some of my teammates who haven't been here a little bit about the culture. There's nothing to be scared of or shy away from, I really enjoy it over here.
You see more and more players coming over to China, like Michael Beasley (who reportedly left the Grizzlies for the Shanghai Sharks). I think it's actually great for the NBA because it shows other countries how good NBA players really are and attracts more talent. This is a guy who played for a team that went to the Finals last season. And while he didn't play a huge role, he's still really talented. I don't think it's the last time we've seen him in the NBA, but this is a different opportunity for him and a chance for him to play a lot of minutes.
Another great thing about the Global Games is that the NBA brings a lot of legends over with us. I ran into Shaq the other day and Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin flew over with us.
We play our first of two games over here in Shanghai on Saturday. After that, it's off to Beijing for the rest of our trip. The fans have been great—we're ready to get on the court and play in front of them.
—As told to SI.com's Matt Dollinger.