As American basketball players, particularly ex-superstars like Tracy McGrady and Stephon Marbury, go to China and help build the Chinese Basketball Association, they are facing backlash and discriminatory rules implemented by Chinese officials who are upset that foreigners are dominating the league.
On January 3, an official with the government-run Shanghai Sports Institute wrote a paper titled, “Foreign Assistance is Like a Slow Poison.” The official, Guan Yin, wrote:
“We might as well take a look at this year’s CBA statistics: The top 26 scorers are all foreigners except for Yi Jianlian, who ranks 14th. Foreigners dominate the top-10 stats for rebounds, assists, and on-court efficiency, almost without exception. I can’t help but ask: Who plays a leading role in the so-called Chinese professional basketball league? And just whose league is it, anyway?”
According to Bloomberg News, 25% of the basketball players in the Chinese Basketball Association are foreigners, and 70% of those foreigners are Americans.
While the Chinese do not seem to mind former NBA stars like Tracy McGrady, NBA outcasts who end up on Chinese basketball teams “rankles” the Chinese.
The Chinese Basketball Association has rules that “limit the number of foreign players on a team and restrict certain honors to Chinese players”
For instance, the league has a rule prohibiting “a foreign player from winning the CBA’s most valuable player award — even when it’s well-deserved, as it was when Stephon Marbury led the Beijing Ducks to last year’s league championship.”
According to Bloomberg, the Bayi Rockets, which is owned and operated by the People’s Liberation Army, “employs no foreigners — only soldiers — and remains” a favorite of government officials.
That team, though, has not won a championship since 2007. To try to rectify this, the Chinese Basketball Association has now “implemented rules that particularly restrict the time that foreign players can be on the court against Bayi.”