The NBA’s international fan base is growing, and the NBA has become somewhat of a cultural ambassador for the USA in China. The NBA has succeeded where other sports organizations have not.
The NBA starts taking Chinese New Year seriously.
The NFL has still not managed to gain footing in China despite attempts, and the MLB is doing much better in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea than anywhere else in Asia. But basketball has managed to catch on in big numbers in China.
The NBA designed special Chinese New Year jerseys that players will wear on Feb 19! Gotta love the NBA haha pic.twitter.com/g06Cnb1etX
— Fung Bros. (@FungBros) January 28, 2015
China currently doesn’t have any players in the NBA, but the NBA gave China Stephon Marbury, who is China’s biggest basketball hero.
To prop up this relationship and recognize its international viewership, the NBA is having its own Chinese New Year celebration by putting team names in Chinese characters on specially designed uniforms for the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) February 21, 2015
Though some NBA players find success in China, the Chinese Basketball Association is a very different monster. NBA players who go there have a difficult time getting paid, if at all. The league and many of the teams are owned by the state, and corruption is rife. Yao Ming, former NBA star and now President of the Shanghai Sharks has stated, “We are running this more like a government than a professional league.” And by government, he’s referring to the mafia, that is, the Chinese Communist Party.