The NBA’s Global Games schedule is out for 2014 and the upshot for Chinese fans is this: Nets vs Kings in Shanghai on October 12, before the same teams play in Beijing on October 15.
Stephon Marbury’s Beijing Ducks lead the Xinjiang Flying Tigers 2-1 in the CBA Finals, with all three wins so far going to the road team. Games 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series are in Beijing on March 26 and 28 respectively. Marbury scored 21 and 16 points in the two wins and was even better in a losing cause at home. As per Basketball Buddha:
Teams considered to be the best in the world by the Laureus Academy over the past decade have included FC Barcelona, the European Ryder Cup team and China’s Olympic squad.
But you would be hard pushed to find a more dominant team in world sport right now than the women’s doubles partnership of China’s Peng Shuai and Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei. In winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells last weekend, the pair moved to 11-0 in finals. I’ve searched high and low to find some comparable dominance – in tennis and elsewhere – and I’m still looking.
Stephon Marbury – the American despised at home, but loved in China – has signed a new contract with the Beijing Ducks that will keep him in the capital until 2017. The man is so popular here that they built him a statue and he’s even been touted as a future national team coach for China. Below is an extract from this week’s Sports Talk column:
Yao Ming is sadly no longer with us. The seven-week-old giraffe in Houston named after the Chinese NBA star was put down after a month-long bone infection couldn’t be treated. Sorry for leading with a tearjerker – I promise the other stories will be more cheerful!
Phelps loses his balls
That was Michael Phelps’ assessment after playing golf with Matt Kuchar at Mission Hills golf club in Haikou. He kept he temper remarkably well, despite, hole-after-hole, losing his ball to Chinese fans hellbent on snagging a souvenir. Admittedly, as the video shows, he’s not the straightest hitter, but even when he nails the middle of the fairway, the ball is gone by the time he gets there.
“Someone picked it up and had a pen for me to sign it.”
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.
It seems the Li-Ning Tower really is leaning and is in danger of crashing down. The company’s shares have fallen more than 25% since January 21, including a sizeable drop last week after the company announced plans to raise up to HK$1.87 billion by issuing convertible securities. In construction terms, that’s an awful lot of scaffolding.
The news comes just one year after massive investment from TPG and GIC. The company’s press release talked of a deteriorating situation, a build-up of inventory, sales problems, poor productivity and profitability, worrying debt levels and a need to transform the business.
In other words, company fans are already covered.
Just write it (with apologies to a global sportswear giant, but despite the name of the blog, I won’t be favouring any one of them over another). This blog has been in the works for a while now, so, as we start a new year, what better time to kick it off?
I’ll be covering anything that could be construed as sports business, as long as there is some sort of China/Asia angle: international sports or leagues trying to crack the China market, Chinese companies trying to make it overseas, sports events in Asia, sponsorship matters, and likely a bunch more besides.