Top 7 reasons more NBA players should play in China

McGrady, seven-time NBA All-Star, is playing for the Qingdao Double Star Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association. And his contract has been the top news on China’s major sports news sites. Now more and more former NBA players are planning to come to China for their new career life in another land. Here are 7 reasons why these NBA players should come to China:

1. It Can Revitalize a Player’s Career – Some basketball players in the NBA may not get the minutes they think they deserve, suffer injuries that hamper their game, or might have passed the prime of their career. For example, Tracy McGrady’s nagging injuries have stymied the twilight of his NBA career. The NBA is chock full of good players all waiting their turn to be the star, minutes are scarce and young talent trumps old. Even the 12th man on the team is good in the NBA.  When an NBA player suffers an injury, it could throw off his game just enough that it will cost him his starting role or significant minutes. After the age of 35, typically NBA players’ ability declines, too.  So in these situations, it would be wise for NBA players to consider playing in China to rejuvenate their career.

2. It Can Start a Player’s Career – With so many basketball players vying for time in the NBA, sometimes a skilled player can get overlooked.  Does the name Jeremy Lin come to mind?  He was undrafted, underutilized and overlooked by many NBA experts. He did not even earn a college scholarship!  If young players don’t get minutes in the NBA or even if they go undrafted out of college, then it could be worthwhile to explore the possibilities of playing in China to develop your basketball resume.  Players will get more playing time, and if they perform well, then they can draw the attention of NBA scouts.

3. Chinese Basketball Association has Good Competition – While the NBA is the top league in the world when it comes to basketball talent, the CBA does offer competitive games.  Players like Chen Jianghua, Du Feng, Hu Xuefeng, Li Xiaoxu, and Sun Mingming are all skilled players that can challenge NBA players to perform at their highest level.  While the CBA will never be on the same competitive level as the NBA, it will offer challenging basketball games.

4. Create a Trend – When one or two players decide to play in the CBA, and have good experiences, more players consider the opportunity to play abroad.  Doing so creates a snowball effect that will cause more players to go to China, making the CBA even more competitive and strengthening ties to the NBA.

5. Business Opportunity – Just as corporations move their products to China, so too can NBA players market their shoes, basketball gear, and other athletic apparel.  One reason why Stephon Marbury decided to play in China was so he could sell his athletic apparel to the Chinese market.  Now, he has a burgeoning business empire to go along with his a successful basketball career, with one CBA championship.  Young Chinese people are eager to learn the game of basketball and players can hold basketball camps to teach the fundamentals of the game.

6. Cultural Experience – The demographics of the NBA can be broken down like this: 76% are African American, 20% are Caucasian, 3% are Latino and 1% is Asian.  So 99% of the players in the NBA have no or little understanding of Asian culture.  By playing basketball in China, they can broaden their horizons and experience Chinese culture.  Maybe they can even learn to use chopsticks and speak a little Putonghua in the process.  Chinese people can also learn more about the struggles that many inner city black youth face growing up.  Many NBA players escape broken homes, gang violence, drugs, and other adversity in their life before becoming NBA stars.  Chinese people can then appreciate the difficulties they faced in their life.

7. Diplomatic Reasons – In the event that political conflict occurs between China and the United States, athletes may be able to bridge differences between the two countries.  The influence that star athletes have in their own countries cannot be underestimated or overlooked.  While it is unlikely that Stephon Marbury will ever be ambassador to China, he could use his influence in the media in China to persuade people to tolerate American politics when tension arises.

The above article is offered by China Newz, a blog that covers all things about China, including politics, history, economics and culture.

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