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:
Be careful what you believe about the NBA in China.
Firstly, reports – by which, of course, I mean parroted press releases – out over the last few days suggest that LeTV is now the main broadcaster of NBA games in China.
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.
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:
[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]
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.
A round-up of what’s been happening this week (Beckham stuff at the end!):
The NBA announced eight international preseason games for next season. For Asian fans that means Pacers vs Rockets, Manila, Oct 10; Pacers vs Rockets, Taipei, Oct 13; Lakers vs Warriors, Beijing, Oct 15; and Lakers vs Warrior, Shanghai, Oct 18.
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.
Today’s links have a US feel – basketball, baseball and football. Check them out:
Jon Pastuszek at Niubball has the scoop on who could be the next NBA superstar to play in the CBA (clue: it’s a BIG name!)
Manny Ramirez could end up playing baseball in Taiwan and The Hall of Very Good is hoping that Taiwan’s legendary animators NMA work their Manny magic once again.
War Room Sports has an interview with Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, ESPN analyst and former Eagles QB and the man behind the Arena Football League’s push into China.
Ferrari sign first Chinese sponsor
Ferrari’s Formula One team has signed a four-year deal with Weichai Power. Somewhat surprisingly given Ferrari 20+ year history in China and the importance of the Chinese market, it is Ferrari’s first ever Chinese sponsor. Weichai, as I’m sure you know, produces mechanical components for heavy-duty vehicles, including buses.
Weichai Power’s parent company, the Weichai Group, already has Italian links: the company bought a majority stake in luxury yacht manufacturer Ferretti Group last year.