央视国际 2003年06月23日 15:52
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Before 1995, basketball careers were fostered mainly through the support of state. Now, professional teams are built at both state and provincial levels, raising a great number of players. Although China's competitive sports leagues were developing dramatically, financial support from the State could no longer be sustained, hindering any further improvement. Consequently, basketball became professionalized since 1995.
In 1995, The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) introduced the 'Home and Away' system into the league. This significantly evoked both basketball fans' and media's enthusiasm. After 8 year's of cultivation, the league has significantly improved with a considerable amount of high-level players trained and greatly enhanced marketing capabilities.
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Wang Du, Vice President of China Basketball Management Center, said,'Generally speaking, the purpose of our reform is to discard those traditional ways of management which contradict the rules of market economy. We are trying to do things as scientifically as possible. Actually, the goal is to take up more market shares. We'd like to attract a larger audience to basketball, and were doing so through marketing. As a result, we are increasing the basketball league's economic and social value, and we can finally find enough funds to operate our league.'
China is accelerating the pace of reform in its professional sports. We introduced the idea of a free market to Chinese basketball, and we hope to develop Chinese basketball in a way that coincides with what other countries are doing. We want the game to be more exciting, and we want to get more attention. If we can improve our league, our national team can get much better players.
Wang Qun, Coach of Shanghai Dongfang said,'Because of the changing system, we get more attention from our government leaders. In just 6 years, our team has become ranked within the top 20.'
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In terms of flexibility, the Shanghai Team benefits greatly from trading players (domestic and international), and team management. Coached by Li Qiuping, it took the Shanghai Dongfang six years to go from being a Division Ｂ team becoming a Division A team. Moreover, Shanghai won the CBA Finals in the 2001-2002 season. It was then that Yao Ming finished his domestic career and joined the NBA.
Today the CBA's marketing promises a brighter future for Chinese basketball. The NBA has already recruited Yao Ming and two other Chinese basketball players. Yao Ming joined the NBA through an internationally recognized procedure which, in turn, initiated a new stage of China-US exchange in sports.
The CBA is dedicated to producing the best basketball league in Asia. As a result of three well-known CBA centers Wang Zhizhi, Mengke Bateer and Yao Ming joining the NBA consecutively, the CBA began to shift its focus, adopting some of the rules of the NBA. For example in a four-quarter game, 'full-court press'—a defensive strategy must be applied in at least one quarter. Additionally, there's a restriction for using more than 5 international players per regular season games and 4 for playoffs. There are other rules are borrowed from the NBA.
The current sports clubs in China are all cooperated between local sports committees and various businesses. With these clubs, The Chinese Basketball Association has laid down an entire system of rules and regulations. With this new system, clubs are able to work with foreign investors; bring foreign players and coaches; and freely trade players with other clubs. The objective of this is to further professionalize the Chinese basketball league, and to finally convert the state-owned teams into self-managed basketball enterprises.
Fang Youqing, Team Leader of Guangdong Hongyuan, said,'The Guangdong Hongyuan Club is owned by a private corporation, so everything is pretty flexible. Through years of development, we've been trying to strengthen our weaknesses. We're also paying more attention to our second team, because we want our teams to rank at higher levels for a longer period of time.'
The Guangdong Winnerway successfully rejuvenated its team. Its players were now an average age of 22 and an average height of 1.98m. Scoring 115 points per game, achieving 55% of its field goals. and using the full court press defense, the Guangdong Hongyuan swept the rest of the competitors and won first place in the 2002-2003 season, which grabbed the attention of the Chinese basketball league.
The Army has been incredibly powerful team: six-time CBA Champions, and eight-time CBA Finalists. In the 2002-2003 CBA Finals, The Army, using their strength, concerted action, player's individual abilities, and an active defensive strategy went on to defeat the Guangdong Winnerway and become the 2002-2003 CBA Champions.
Chinese basketball coaches are likely to repeat the same methods while coaching. Therefore the training is usually ineffective and the players lack discipline. In order to gain better results and improve team management and coaching levels, CBA clubs have invested time and energy in finding the best solution for their teams. The Beijing Olympian, Jiangsu and Zhejiang hired coaches from Yugoslavia, Korea and the US respectively. This was a good start. It showed that the Chinese Basketball league was beginning to accept foreign values and experiences.
2002 was a year of hiring foreign coaches. Beijing Aoshen hired Mila, a coach from Yugoslavia. He once was the coach of Yugoslavia's national team, coaching more than 100 games for them. Mila comes with rich experience and has a very strong dedication to basketball. He is diligent, enthusiastic, and conscientious. He is also very strict with the team.
Mila, Beijing Aoshen, said, 'It is very difficult to indoctrinate all my ideas to my players within just several months. The most important feeling I have is that I can only teach as much as they can learn.
We want to promote the development of Chinese basketball.I think this team is promising.I am pretty satisfied with the organization of the CBA.I am delighted that there are experts who work for them.
If we can bring coaches with different styles and accumulate their experiences, we can surely bring energy to Chinese basketball. From a marketing perspective, it seems the games are getting more exciting, so we are seeing many more basketball fans. Of course, every club expects good results but they are also prepared for any failures.
As our league becomes more professionalized, foreign coaches and players have gradually become accustomed to the Chinese basketball league. Quite a few well-known international players have joined the CBA, one after another, which has brought a new perspective to the league. This has therefore increased the popularity of Chinese basketball around the world. These players have been devoting themselves to enriching the strategies and tactics of basketball in China. Now, when talking about basketball, the issue of international players of basketball has become an indispensable topic.
Li Qun, Player of Guangdong Winnerway, said,'I believe the foreign players have been performing consistently well in the past eight years. They are especially prominent this year. So among this year's foreign players, I think Johnson is the best because his values are very close to ours. It is very easy for us to get together and work together. Johnson's behavior and his dedication demonstrate that he is an excellent player.'
Foreign players are definitely a strong characteristic of the CBA. They are much better than the previous players. Their participation contributes dramatically to making the game more exciting. It has become popular for both sides to send 'double foreign players' in the fourth quarter. It is exciting to see the foreign players compete against each other. It is usually the teams who possess good foreign players that defeat the teams without good foreign players. This level of skill and energy is good for CBA.
This season, distributed among the 14 teams, are 39 international players. 7 of who participated in last season's games. 23 players are from the United States; 3 are from Lithuania; and the rest come from Dominica and Jamaica.
Over the last eight years, over 200 international players have participated in the CBA. There are also 300-400 players that have had a close relationship with Chinese basketball league.
Basketball Fans said, 'This year's foreign players are much better than last year. Domestic players are just so-so.'
Some foreign players are a crucial part of their teams. According to statistics published by the Chinese Basketball Association, the names of foreign players appeared in all seven categories with the exception of three-pointers and assists, and foreigners took almost all top three at game standings for dunking and rebounding. The importance of foreign players is even more obvious for this round.
Among the international players, no one is eager to leave China. One reason is that it is relatively easy to make money here.
Wang Du said, 'Chinese basketball has been improved by foreign players. In other words, we can learn a lot of things from foreign players. So from a development perspective, our future is promising but it will not be easy. We want the CBA to be a league known worldwide.'
China has a very broad market for Basketball. Basketball is one of the most popular sports here. China has the biggest number of people involved with basketball, and China has over 100 million basketball fans. Today the number of spectators who attend the CBA games is over 800 thousand, and over 600 million watch them on TV.
In China, every team has its own faithful fans. They come to cheer and support almost every game.
Zhang Weiqiang, Basketball Fan, said,'Our cheering squad was founded four years ago. At that time we had about 50 people. We now have over 300 people. We have been following the Capital Steelers for four years. We are prepared to cheer for our team in order to help their performance. That's the least we can do.'
Basketball fans' have been there throughout the development of the CBA. They have been consistently supporting Chinese basketball. They genuinely care about their teams and they care the development of the CBA as well.
Fans said, 'Chinese players' physical and psychological conditions are not as good as American players. Referees should improve their judging abilities.'
The NBA has 83 regular season games. The season lasts several months. But there are only 2 or 3 games per week for the CBA. The challenge for the CBA players is not as severe as it is for the NBA. It is not good for players to push the limitations of their physical stamina.
The 2 CBA All-star teams were comprised of 10 players each. These players were selected by Chinese basketball fans who voted online and by mail in order to form the CBA Dragon Team and CBA Tiger Team. In this way, the fans got to participate. They definitely provided an exciting Dragon-Tiger game!
The main purpose for this season's all-star event was to entertain. The fantastic game and the accessibility of the basketball superstars satiated the fans desire to be a part of the action.
Vice President of Guangzhou Sports Committee, said, 'I am pleased to hold this event. It is good for promoting our work in sports. Because all of the CBA stars are coming to Guangzhou, the fans have an opportunity to get in touch with them, face to face. So the fans become an active part of the event.'
This year's event was divided into four parts: the Fans Covention, 3-on-3 Matches for Fans; Three-Point Shooting and Dunking; and the All-Star Game. The Fans Convention was particularly reserved for playing basketball. There were special areas for games and performances. The organizers also prepared an area for children so they could have fun with their parents.
I think the government and schools should invest a little bit more. They need to provide us with better environments and space. This way, Chinese basketball can grow faster.
There are many fans in middle schools and colleges, so I think CBA should advertise more in these places.
The idea of All-Star activities is to entertain, repay fans, and provide an opportunity for fans to meet the players.
Yang Kairui, Headmaster, said,' The training is arranged as follows: 40 minutes of training in the morning for basic skills and awareness; 2 hours in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening. We arrange two games per week against various teams from middle schools, colleges, the army and the community.'
The Shanxi Yuncheng School of Basketball is proud of its coaches and management. The school has recruited students from around the country. They stimulate students' interest in basketball, help to develop their playing skills, and send talented players to colleges and universities.
Duan Yunlai said, 'Our school was founded in 1996. This is the first school for basketball in China to combine basketball training with formal education. From our two graduating groups, 30-40 students entered colleges, and the other two students were invited to join the Shanxi Juvenile Team. We want our players to be seen in Chinese Basketball Leagues on TV. '
Chinese basketball is still in its early stage. There's room for further improvement- insufficient funding and inadequate courts, lack of attention from public, and flaws in training methods, to name a few, But at least our future is promising.
The CBA is continually making progress, and its influence and commercial value also increases day by day. The Chinese Basketball Association has begun to promote the branding of the CBA. This successful marketing is beginning to attract more and more attention. Just like the NBA, the CBA will begin to sell registered products very soon.
The Chinese Basketball Association has made a long-term marketing objective to admit clubs and other relevant activities, including cheering squads, fan clubs, half-time show and ticket promotion so that more basketball fans will come to the stadium and watch the game.
This season, Basketball DJ Xie Minghong produced background music specifically for the CBA games so that fans can really get into the spirit of the game.
Xie Minghong said, 'We want the fans to really enjoy themselves. It is part of the game. We want to attract more people to come to the stadium.I feel we have much more to do. We are at the starting point. What we are doing is creating interactive games, cheering groups and so on so that audience can get the feeling that they are involved. Then we can bring such activities back to the league.'
This year, the Basketball Management Center founded 'The CBA Cheerleaders' in order to create a professional sports environment. Its beautiful members are students from over 30 colleges in Beijing. Each of these 40 students masters the fundamental skills of dance.
Zhao Shouzhen said, 'We are young and energetic. Because we are college students from the capital, we create exactly the kind of environment that is needed for basketball.'
The mission of these cheerleaders is to bring entertainment to basketball fans, and support for players! They demonstrate the theme of the CBA— Fashion, Enthusiasm, Youth, and Health. We practice twice a week. Our rehearsal lasts an hour and a half to 4 hours. I like our cheerleaders. We are semi-professional.'
Touring the country, their performance greatly enhances the exhilarating atmosphere of game. The CBA has become known and recognized by more and more people, which is good news for those who are promoting Chinese basketball.