Sunday, August 20, 2006

Challenges for Chinese Basketball

As I was browsing the forums, I found a post that lucidly expresses the problems facing Chinese players trying to follow in Yao's footsteps. This post was posted by LAYaoFan, a poster who is a very good source of information of Chinese basketball.

The rest of the players of Yao's generation need to go NOW. As I said
before, CNT is going nowhere as long as Liu Wei, Zhu Fanyu and Wang Shipeng are
getting significant minutes. Liu and Wang are have the ball handling skills of a
JV girls player, and have no business playing in a professional league ANYWHERE
let alone making the national team. As for Zhu Fangyu, he has the talent, but he
has ZERO intensity.

Yao's generation was likely the last to learn basketball the "old"
way...meaning no intensity, no passion, no defense, no phsyicality. Yao was able
to shake off that training through some intense de-programming by NBA coaching.
His contemporaries, however, are a lost cause and should be dumped as soon as
possible. The CNT needs to be bold, take the long view and promote the younger
generation to the CNT (Yang Ming, Yi Li, etc).

He perfectly sums up the mentality of the "old" way in China, the (unfortunately) accepted way -- "no intensity, no passion, no defense". He goes on to say that Yao was the pioneer in that he broke the mold.

Sometimes I despair for Chinese basketball. It seems that almost no advancement is being made, and the few small steps that are being made are being done at a snail pace, too slow to benefit Yao in his career.

But then my hopes rise as I look at players like Yi Jianlian and Chen Jianghua, players that are stereotype-breakers.

But once again my spirits fall. Yao was exceptionally qualified for this job as pioneer, maybe even uniquely. To break outside the box, and then bear the pressures of a billion people...that was hard (understatement of the year). Can Yi and Chen and other young players bear the pressure. They won't face as much pressure as Yao, but they'll still be under intense scrutiny in the NBA, from both those in America, and from their homeland. Can they do it? I have hope, as they are both young (or supposed to be). The future of Chinese basketball is in their hands, and I hope they live up to it.

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