Guangdong wins 10th CBA title

Society & Culture

Also in this week's China Sports Column: The dismantling Beijing Workers Stadium has begun.

Guangdong's Zhao Rui in the CBA finals vs Liaoning
Zhào Ruì 赵睿 pumps his fist during Game 3 vs. Liaoning

The Guangdong Southern Tigers claimed a 10th Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) championship after defeating the Liaoning Flying Leopards in a winner-take-all Game 3 on Saturday. The score was relatively close, 123-115, but Guangdong was in control for most of the game after taking the lead in the second quarter.

With the win, the Southern Tigers finished a dominant campaign, winning 44 of 46 games in the regular season, including a record-breaking winning streak of 28 games (which was extended to 30 games in the postseason).

However, the playoffs saw Guangdong get pushed hard by the Beijing Ducks in the semis and Liaoning Flying Leopards in the finals. Both Beijing and Liaoning managed to claim victories in Game 2 of their best-of-three series.

Guangdong’s best player, Yì Jiànlián 易建联, missed the first two games of the Beijing series with a leg injury, and was clearly not back at 100% in the Liaoning series. But Liaoning had no answer for Sonny Weems, who scored a game-high 39 points in the deciding game. He was named playoffs MVP.

Guangdong will start as the favorites next season, but with aging star players, some signings during the offseason are necessary. Yi is 32 with an injury history, while key contributors Zhōu Péng 周鹏, Weems, and center Sū Wěi 苏伟 are 30, 34, and 31, respectively. However, there is the possibility that next season could be shortened like the soccer season. This would play into the hands of Guangdong, with its experienced heads — and old legs — running the show.


Lin lashes out at CBA physicality

Jeremy Lin

As speculation mounts over Jeremy Lin’s playing future, the 31-year-old Californian lashed out at the lack of protection offered to him during his first season in China.

Lin revealed to state television following his Beijing Ducks’ exit from the playoffs that he was forced to stay in Qingdao to undergo treatment for a loss of hearing linked to the fouls he had to endure against Guangdong.

“My condition isn’t very good because, as we all know, the competition is fierce for both teams. We basically play the game and hit people at the same time.

“I can understand if you hit and hurt your opponent by mistake, but (it is unacceptable) if you do it on purpose or the referee doesn’t protect the players.

“We want to be safe on the court, that’s all I can say. I’ll leave the rest for you guys to discuss.”

Beijing Ducks head coach Xiè Lìbīn 谢立彬 also weighed in on the matter. “He went down so many times in each game. But you must appreciate that he is in his 30s and played in the NBA for many years. He has injuries, his nose, eyes and even his ears — he couldn’t hear anything after the game.”


Demolition of Beijing’s Workers Stadium begins

Workers Stadium demolished

The dismantling Beijing Workers Stadium has begun.

Gongti, as it is called, is home of Beijing Guoan, and was opened in 1959 as one of the Ten Great Buildings to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. As with the other Ten Great Buildings — the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum, and the Minzu Hotel, to name a few — the stadium has not aged gracefully into the 21st century.

Starting the unfortunate trend of multi-use stadia, Gongti and its athletics track became somewhat irrelevant following the 2008 Olympics and the opening of the Bird’s Nest stadium.

However, its ugly concrete façade in the center of Beijing’s glam Sanlitun area became fairly iconic. Hosting a few trashy superclubs and a number of high-quality restaurants in its grounds, Gongti was an important part of the area’s cultural offerings.

The stadium will be replaced with a soccer-specific ground that will play host to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

The China Sports Column runs every week on SupChina.