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年过半百,经历坎坷.少年遇"文革",下乡八载,虽历经磨难,唯斗志不减,农耕间隙自学不辍,终守得云开日出,考进大学.大学毕业后先后经历了中学执教,国企管理,外企高管,最后回归重执教鞭.目前在家精心培养有志掌握英语的中小学生. 我最大的愿望就是看到孩子学有所成,桃李天下.

我新发表的文章《迷失方向的中国篮球》  

2013-08-19 10:38:12|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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China basketball disoriented

 

Wu Guangqiang

CHINESE fans were heartbroken after their national football team was slaughtered by a visiting Thai team on June 15. To add insult to this injury, the Chinese men’s national basketball team has just ended a disgraceful trip to the FIBA Asia Championship in Manila after a string of crushing defeats and narrow victories. They finally finished fifth but it was the worst-ever performance for China in the history of FIBA Asia.

Home fans were particularly stunned when the national team was thrashed by Chinese Taipei 78-96, as the latter had never beaten the former before.

You can call Chinese Taipei a hero as it had with an iron will not only won a couple of come-from-behind victories over Jordan and the Philippines, but also turned a 10-point deficit in the third period into a sweeping victory against China with a 31-12 counterattack.

However, you can also call China a weakling as it showed nothing throughout the match but lousy offense and defense, a shoddy quick attack and barely present three-pointers. Worst of all, not a bit of sporting spirit was seen in the national team. Signs of their under-performance emerged before the final defeat — they had lost to South Korea and Iran. Though they beat other weaker teams, their performance was ugly, a far cry from what a defending champion is supposed to demonstrate if they want to retain their crown.

Afterwards, Web space was abuzz with speculation about what was behind the humiliating defeats. Word had come even before the tournament started that some veteran players would not be going all out in the games. The provinces to which they belonged had cautioned them not to get injured, so that they could serve their respective provincial teams by being in the best form during the upcoming National Games. Local governments will reward winners with hefty bonuses. Though unproved, this sounds logical given the status quo in China’s sporting circle. Many athletes only seem motivated by bonuses and sponsorship money. Rumors ran wild that a discord between the head coach and the players and under-table deals during the championship also contributed to the humiliating defeat.

Money has corroded Chinese sports and national pride has long faded away from the minds of some athletes. According to a reporter, one of the old-timers in the Chinese national basketball team confessed that he found nothing worthwhile to play for in the national team because of the little compensation. Senior players’ low morale has surely dampened the young players’ fighting spirit.

Blind imitation of Western systems and practices is also responsible for the decline in Chinese basketball. Before Yao Ming, Chinese basketball was renowned for its impressive speed, three-pointers and collective coordination. In my memory, the golden time of Chinese basketball was not when Yao Ming ruled, but when A Dijiang, a point guard with China’s national team, was the soul of the team throughout the mid-1980s and 1990s. With his exceptional ability to construct attacks and defenses and his dazzling dribbling, passing and driving layup, he was dubbed a “magician on the court.” It was a feast for the eyes to see him steal the ball in the backcourt, back pass it to a mate, catch the return ball, crossover, drive and sink a shot, doing it in one go like entering an unpopulated land.

Nothing personal, but in my view, Yao Ming served as a negative asset rather than a high-value asset for China’s basketball team. As an individual, Yao was a huge success. He won his international fame and vast fortune through diligence, charisma and a devotion to charity. But his glaring personal success outshined the importance of the rest of the team. Since Yao’s emergence, China’s basketball style turned from “small, quick, and accurate” to “big, slow and blunt.” It seemed that the only strategy was everyone passed the ball to Yao for him to put it into the hoop.

After Yao’s departure, China’s national team declined day by day. After watching China’s awful performance, a Taiwanese reporter hit the nail on the head when he commented that “This team lacks an important thing: solid basic skills.”

Going in the wrong direction, Chinese basketball seems to be repeating Chinese football’s mistakes.

 

(The author is an English tutor and a freelance writer.)

 

 

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