Today is one of those rare sports days in the Chinese capital, especially given that it’s a Tuesday. For those with nothing better to do (and plenty of money), you can spend the day watching the Tour of Beijing, which finishes its fifth and final stage near the Bird’s Nest today. Then head into the stadium itself to see the Brazilian national soccer team play. Leave at half time and jump into your helicopter to head to the west of town in time to catch some of the game between the LA Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at the Mastercard Arena.
[UPDATE: As Beijing Cream has noticed, T-Mac has added another post on his Weibo account, which reads:
Just want you all to know Yang Yi is lying to the China press about me. Any information from him are false to promote his clients. I love China and will always be faithful to all my fans. Peace!
Yang Yi is the Senior Basketball Editor at Titan Sports and a former NBA commentator for CCTV who became known for dropping Yao Ming’s name at every opportunity. Still doesn’t sound like McGrady will be playing in China any time soon, though…]
Following news that Yi Jianlian will not be going from the CBA to the NBA anytime soon comes news that Tracy McGrady won’t be making the opposite journey either.
After spending the end of last season on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs, T-Mac retired from the NBA, shortly after posting this message on his Sina Weibo account: Continue reading T-Mac rules out CBA return, slams Chinese media [UPDATED]
Here’s a look back at last’s month National Games, held in China every four years. I’ve written before about the ludicrous medal system that meant Heilongjiang province had amassed 43 medals before the Games even kicked off and how Sun Yang effectively racked up 11 medals. But the reason for all this medal mania is largely down to local sports officials who assume (usually correctly) that their promotion prospects depend on a nice haul of metal from their athletes, sort of like a sporting parallel to how local governments seek inflated GDP numbers. This leads to all sorts of tricks, including the trading of athletes between provinces. Here’s an extract:
Mengke Bateer is one of Inner Mongolia’s most famous sporting sons – sporting or otherwise. But the first Chinese basketball player to win an NBA Championship is the ultimate homer, representing represented host province Shandong Province in 2009 as well as host provinceand Liaoning Province in 2013. How do Inner Mongolians feel when they see him representing another province instead of their own? What do those in Shandong or Liaoning think when they know that they have sporting mercenaries instead of locals representing them?
Full article is here.
Yao Ming may not have been the first player from China to play in the NBA – that distinction goes to Wang Zhizhi – but Yao’s arrival in the US was supposed to open the doors and let in a steady stream of talent from the east. Unfortunately those doors have now slammed shut with the news that Yi Jianlian doesn’t plan to have another crack at the NBA and will stay in China.
Dennis Rodman is the gift that keeps on giving. The former NBA player, who now counts North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un among his close friends after trips there in February and September this year, has talked Irish betting firm Paddy Power into backing his proposed basketball tournament, set to take place in Pyongyang in January 2014.
The North Korean national team will face an All-Star selection chosen by Rodman. The mind boggles when you start to think of who might play in this game. Stephon Marbury, for example, would only have a short flight over from Beijing… Continue reading Dennis Rodman’s North Korean circus coming to town in January
The far northeastern province of Heilongjiang came into China’s National Games with 43 medals already in the bank. Yes, you read that right. 17 gold medals were “won” before the official start of the Games, and only one of those was due to an event being scheduled ahead of the opening ceremony. That’s because some bright spark had the idea of converting medals from previous events into medals that actually count at the National Games:
Some thoughts for the weekend… I’ll say upfront that I’m not a huge fan of Forbes, particularly when it comes to their sports coverage, but their annual list of the world’s 100 highest paid athletes makes for interesting reading. Two things are clear: the money is still in the US – 63 of the athletes are American; 73 are US-based – but the sponsorship business is a global one.
In this week’s round-up, Taiwan takes centre stage on the world sporting map, golfing teen sensation Guan Tianlang explores America, the most ludicrous claim you’ll hear this decade and a hot sporting WAG.
Citizenship is always an issue in China, or more specifically, changing your citizenship. For one thing, you tend to need a lot of money. Chinese movie stars have taken up residence in other countries and faced accusations of being a traitor, but crossing borders in the sports world can be even more controversial.
Here’s my Sports Talk column from today:
The rumors have been circulating for months, but now, for the first time, they have been aired in public. Last week, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose mentioned on his podcast that two-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade has promised to play for a year in China after retiring from the NBA.
The big question is when. Wade is 31, so likely won’t be leaving the US anytime soon, but seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady arrived in China aged 33, so Wade’s year abroad could come sooner rather than later.
It’s important to stress that this is nothing more than rumor at this point – Wade’s agency CAA wouldn’t comment on the matter – but the reason the speculation won’t go away is, according to Chinese basketball blog NiuBBall.com’s Jon Pastuszek, that it simply makes a lot of sense.
Wade signed a massive contract with Chinese sportswear company Li-Ning last year – reportedly a nine-figure sum, including equity – but the headlines back home weren’t so generous, with the deal variously described as “bizarre” and a “terrible career move”. Wade’s promise to play in China, while likely not specified in writing, is thought to be linked to the Li-Ning agreement.
To be sure, there is certainly a lot of risk involved. Li-Ning’s share price has been tanking, and the company recently announced plans to raise funds to boost its flagging fortunes. Chinese brands, by Wade’s own admission, are not cool in the US, and Li-Ning’s focus has reverted to China after a failed attempt to enter the US market.
But for Wade, who would be the biggest name to play in the Chinese Basketball Association, the upside is clear. “If he’s truly serious about being the frontman for the company, playing a season in China would certainly be a huge boost to his brand,” says Pastuszek.
His “Way of Wade” Li-Ning sneakers are now on sale, and he’s also promoted other products in China.
Whether he’s up for the business challenge or attracted by the money, it’s not a given, Pastuszek says, that Wade will turn Li-Ning’s fortunes around and sell lots of shoes. “He does have a track record in that respect with Brand Jordan, but it’s going to be more of a long-term process with Li-Ning,” he said.
The framework is in place for Wade to hit it out of the park, but it’s equally likely that he could crash and burn. It should be interesting either way.
Abridged version in today’s Global Times.