A new basketball power in Guangdong? Jeremy Lin hopes so

Society & Culture

The Guangzhou Loong Lions, who have always played second fiddle in Guangdong province to the more-acclaimed Guangdong Southern Tigers, have signed former Santa Cruz Warriors teammates Jeremy Lin and Jordan Bell.

Via Jeremy Lin's Instagram

Jeremy Lin is returning to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), but with a new team. He signed a one-year deal with the Guangzhou Loong Lions last week, ending his up-and-down two-season stint with the Beijing Ducks.

The 2022-23 CBA season will begin on October 10, once again behind closed doors in a COVID bubble in Hangzhou. The league will begin without fans in attendance for the third consecutive season. However, the CBA said it hoped the league will return to home arenas during the second phase of the season, after the league goes on hiatus for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers in November.

The season will see the league’s 20 teams divided into four groups of five teams, with 42 rounds of action. Teams will also face opposition within their group three times and out-of-group opponents twice during the season.

The top 12 will qualify for the playoffs.

Lin signed for the Ducks in 2019 with high expectations following his arrival in China after winning the NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors that year.

Despite some Ducks fans hoping Lin would be the second coming of Stephon Marbury, Lin never managed to make a splash on the same scale as previous imports. Although CBA fans never got to see Lin serve up a second serving of Linsanity, he remained one of the better players on the Ducks roster, earning a starting place for the northern All-Star team in his first season.

Unfortunately, Lin’s time at Beijing was hampered by early struggles to adapt to the physicality of the league and nagging injuries, as well as an enforced three-month layoff after contracting COVID.

“During this journey, I have had heartbreaks and setbacks,” the 34-year-old Lin wrote on Weibo. “Last year was no exception. Being quarantined for three months because of a Covid-19 diagnosis is an obstacle I never imagined facing, and the mental and physical impact is hard to overcome right away.

“I am forever grateful to the city of Beijing, Beijing Shougang, my coaches and teammates, and of course, the enthusiastic Shougang fans. I will always cherish the days spent with you.

“To my fans and those who have followed my journey, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know where this road will end up, but I hope I can always be a good example of hard work and gratitude. See you on the field soon.”

Lin joins a Guangzhou side that, at times last season, struggled for consistency and accuracy. The team finished 8th in the regular season, one spot behind the Ducks.

However, the recent addition of Lin’s former Santa Cruz Warriors teammate Jordan Bell will add quality to the team’s offense.


WTA moves finals out of China

The WTA has moved its end-of-season finals from Shenzhen to Fort Worth, Texas, marking the second straight year that the Women’s Tennis Association’s lucrative season-ending finals have been moved from China.

The 2021 finals were moved out of China to Guadalajara in Mexico due to China’s COVID policies.

The Florida-based WTA announced that the Dickies Arena would host the event from October 31 to November 7.

Earlier this year, Steve Simon, WTA’s CEO, said that the tour would not go to China for the foreseeable future after Péng Shuài 彭帅 accused former Vice Premier Zhāng Gāolì 张高丽 of sexually assaulting her three years earlier.

Simon and the WTA earned international praise for taking a tough stance on China, but this latest move is due to China’s ongoing COVID restrictions. The WTA announced that the Shenzhen tournament would return next year.

China is an incredibly lucrative market for the WTA and the players on the tour. The first edition of the season finals in Shenzhen had a prize pool of $14 million. In contrast, the men’s ATP finals in 2019 paid out just $5 million.

In addition, the WTA signed a 10-year streaming rights deal with iQiyi in 2017 worth a reported $120 million.


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