Basketball in China
Scores and results for basketball leagues in China
Demography: 1.4 billion citizens (2020)
Spoken language: Chinese, Mandarin
Largest cities: Shanghai, Pékin, Canton, Shenzhen, Dongguan
What are the main professional basketball leagues in China?
In China, there are two major professional leagues, or rather two distinct divisions. The first professional men's basketball league in China, which is very often considered the largest in Asia, is called the Chinese Basketball Association, often abbreviated to CBA. This league should not be confused with the National Basketball League (NBL), which is considered a minor professional league, like a second division.
But that's not all, as there is also a major women's basketball league in China. Called Women's Chinese Basketball Association, more commonly WCBA, it is since 2002 the equivalent of the Chinese Basketball Association for men.
What about the Chinese national team?
China's national men's basketball team, nicknamed Team Dragon, is governed by the Chinese Basketball Federation, more commonly known as the Chinese Basketball Association (not to be confused with the country's major league, which bears the same name).
Based on the number of titles won in Asia, China, which has won the Asian Cup 16 times (in 22 appearances between 1975 and 2015), is considered a major basketball power on its continent. On the global stage, China has had a harder time, having never won a medal in 9 Olympic and 9 World Cup appearances.
How is basketball developing in China?
These results are proof that basketball, which is nevertheless the second national sport in China, is still in a development phase. And this, even if it knew a relative rise in power that it owes in particular to... the NBA, which has made the Chinese market a priority to export its basketball, under the leadership of Yao Ming. This had the effect of exciting the crowds in China, without allowing the Chinese basketball to train young players with high potential, not offering its championship, nor its national team, the ability to shine. The local basketball lives in a way under American perfusion. This is recognized by the fact that many former NBA players join China, especially because of the golden bridges that are set up for them by teams that have comfortable budgets.
However, since 2017, Yao Ming has been appointed president of the Chinese Basketball Federation and he works for the development of this discipline in his country.
Who is the most famous Chinese player?
There is no doubt that the most famous Chinese player is none other than Yao Ming. This giant of 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in) played five years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), with the Shanghai Sharks, with whom he won a title in 2001-2002. After that, he joined the NBA, where he was the tallest of all players. He played 9 seasons with the Houston Rockets.
Two symbols of this player's impact: On the one hand, in 2016, Yao Ming was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. On the other hand, in 2017, the Rockets retired his jersey.