Wow. After the longest flight ever (PDX to LA to Seoul, South Korea to Guangzhou, China) I have finally started settling in here in China. The hardest part was getting used to the time difference (+16 hours) and trying to order edible food since no one really speaks english. The team that i am with, Dongguan New Century Leopards have several import players, so we have a band of brothers to hang with. It is interesting, as 2 of the imports are practice players being paid just to practice with the team. I am still surprised that people would consider playing in europe over china, being that most the practice contracts are worth more than what Europe would pay.
You probably have noticed that China Basketball seems to be gaining more attention with more and more players being rumored or linked to different teams (I just saw that our own Patty Mills has signed over here, looking forward to seeing him again)! This weekend was opening weekend in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and it was very interesting to see the amount of pre-game hoopla and how excited the chinese people are for basketball. One of the best moments was when the game ball was delivered by a UPS worker in a UPS box. That was pretty clever.
Dongguan's first game was agains the military team which has no imports. Because of this, they actually implement rules limiting the amount an import player from the opposing team can play. This is above and beyond the normal limits. Kind of funny if you ask me. The team they played, Bayi Fubang featured Wang ZhiZhi (former Dallas Maverick I believe). Shavlik Randolph was not allowed to play due to the "special rules" until the 2nd half (we were down 28 at half) and finished the game with 22points and 13 rebounds. We ended up losing by 8, 111-103.
Around the rest of the league (we caught highlights on local channels) featured JR Smith getting a knee injury, Wilson Chandler dropping 43 points and grabbing 22 boards. It is interesting to see the disparity between teams, such as Guangdong which features 8 players on the national team. they lost 1 game all last year.
Anyway, our first home game is this upcoming sunday and against the Beijing Ducks, Stephon Marbury's team. I will see if I can get some photos posted soon. Side note; the chinese people love taking pictures with the tall import players but not as much as taking pictures with my blonde girlfriend! You know you are in a remote place when this takes place! Heading to Hong Kong for some relaxation tomorrow!