Did you know that the Chinese are gaga crazy for American basketball? The only other sports that come close on the enthusiasm Richter scale are Table Tennis (ping pong) and Badminton. My students can't get enough news about our NBA. But now they have their own league to cheer: the CBA (China Basketball League); and it's getting "bigger and better" according to China Daily, boosting 17 teams.
Their season started in November with a clashing match between the defending champion, Beijing Ducks, and the Shanghai Sharks.
NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady is still playing to cheering crowds in the twilight of his career.
Here is the CBA by the numbers:
17 teams..have hired 24 foreign coaches & trainers while drafting 36 foreign players, including 28ex-NBAers
237 domestic players
38 rookies...drafted from local youth teams and colleges
272 total regular season games
23.2 is the average age of local players
And how about those team names?! The Chinese are notably unconcerned about copying, even among pro team names.
Here is the order of how they finished last season:
GUANGDONG SOUTHERN TIGERS
SHANXI BRAVE DRAGONS
XINJIANG FLYING TIGERS
ZHEJIANG GOLDEN BULLS
JILIN NORTHEAST TIGERS
SHANGDONG GOLD LIONS (this is the province in which Jinan is the capital and where we presently reside)
TIANJIN GOLD LION