Skip to content

They don't play pussy basketball in China.

By Bramlet Abercrombie on December 6, 2005.

I think a lot of us Americans have an impression of the basketball played in other parts of the world, especially Europe and Asia, as being much more reliant on skill and strategy and outside shooting, and less reliant on kicking the other guy’s ass. In other words, we think we play tough basketball, and everyone else plays pussy basketball.

Wrong.

I admit, as I walked into the gym for my first pick-up game ever on Chinese soil, I expected the guys I was playing with to be more finesse players, and that I (not being the most graceful dude or skillful basketball player, even by cracker standards) would be more or less like a bull in a Chinese gym, to put a twist on the old expression. That was before guys heedlessly crashed into me fighting for rebounds, leaped directly into my big fat American frame on their way to making layups in my face, and fouled the shit out of me when they couldn’t stay in front of me. Granted, the group I was playing with was not a bunch of average dudes just fucking around, and even included some former semi-pro players. But they were also far from the top tier of young players in China today, and so they left a deep impression on me: the next generation of Chinese basketball players is going to have more than just the occasional freakishly tall yet skilled Yao Ming; it’s going to have some tough, legitimately athletic AND skilled players who will make a mark on international basketball and even the NBA. I’m not the first one to make this prediction, I’m sure, but now I’ve seen the evidence with my own eyes. And felt it in the numerous souvenir bruises they left me with – just like a good pick-up game in the States.

The one problem they need to avoid is that they have a tendency to spoil their popular athletes and thus ruin their potential, as Chinese football (or soccer, as we foolishly insist on calling it) fans can attest.

Hell, maybe I should contact the Spurs about helping them scout here. I may not be R.C. Buford or Sam Presti or Danny Ferry or Lance Blanks, but in China it’s all about greasing the wheels…with plenty of liquor. And karaoke. I just need to brush up on my Motown, Simon and Garfunkel, and Beatles songs (“Do the Evolution” isn’t exactly a ubiquitous karaoke song here), and I’ll be set.

This country is crazy about basketball, but unfortunately for us here at Spurs Dynasty, understandably, most people are Rockets fans. Actually, that’s more unfortunate for them. (Btw, quit blaming Yao, you dumbass American Rockets fans! What was he supposed to do with McGrady AND their top two point guards out, and all of their scrub guards shooting such a low percentage and jacking up inexplicable threes with plenty of time on the shot clock? The criticisms of him that are usually repeated are way out of date. Shut up already.) The usual attitude here toward the Spurs seems to be one of somewhat grudging appreciation for their intelligence and competence. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Well, at least there’s China Spurs.

In related news, due to relentless pressure from the sports-related media, stand-up comics, and objective accounts of U.S. and British history, I’ve finally decided to accept that it’s just uncool to be white. Fortunately, I have an option. My enormous amount of Chinese street cred has enabled me to officially become an honorary Asian. Really, all I had to do was drop the Cauc. Wait, that didn’t come out right. Uh, anyway, Dingo and Funk, when are you guys going to admit that the U.S.S. Whitey is a lost cause, and jump ship? I’ll speak to my Asian brothers and see what I can do for you.

One last thought: Did you guys know that Blogger apparently has a feature that enables it to automatically present everything in Chinese if you log in from an IP address in China? Interesting. Once again, my mad Chinese skillz have come in handy.

That’s it for today’s China update. Reporting live from Shanghai, I’m Buranlate Abakelanbi. Damn, that’s a geeky name even in Mandarin.

Spread The Love, Share Our Article

  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Newsvine
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Twitter

Comments

  1. TheFunk December 6, 2005

    Way to not represtent us Bramlet.

    No wonder the world beats us down in hoops.

    All kidding aside, I don’t see how a billion people can be held back from anything, and I also expect the next generation of Chinese ballers to take it up a very serious notch.

    And you know the PTC looooooves those Yao Ming checks every month they take as part of the contract to let him play in the NBA.

    The funny thing is, his is easily the most underachieving team in the NBA this season. Moreso even than the Flakers or Heat.

  2. Bramlet Abercrombie December 7, 2005

    Actually, it’s hard to blame the Rockets with the schedule and injuries they’ve had. They’ll bounce back, but of course they’re not contenders this year.

    Yao Ming’s checks don’t amount to anything next to all the money that’s being generated in the new economy here (and stolen by corrupt government officials). Shanghai is quite mind-blowing in that regard.

    I think I represented pretty well, actually, considering I hadn’t played in a pick-up game in almost a year and a half. I was being MODEST – that’s one of the concepts the Asian brotherhood will teach your egotistical, self-promoting white ass if you get smart and join us.

    It was an interesting offensive challenge in that I could get past the first defender pretty easily, but they actually played zone defense (in a pick-up game!), and as soon as I had made a couple of layups, everyone on my side of the court was ready to collapse on me and grab or rake my arms if they couldn’t stop me. Very effective, given that there were, of course, no free throws. Fortunately, I made some outside shots, but they pretty much stopped me from driving after those first layups. I got a small taste, on an infinitely lower plane of basketball, of course, of the kind of defense Tony Parker faces in the playoffs.

    However, I was far from the best player there – a couple of guys could shoot the fucking lights out, and a few of them were quite athletic and quick – and in my rustiness I made a few embarrassing mistakes, the details of which I’ll spare you.

    Playing zone defense was a cool experience. It was the first time I had ever played it, since I’ve never played any basketball more organized than a shitty intramural team in college, but fortunately I’ve seen it played enough that it was easy to pick up. Personally, I always enjoy the challenge of guarding someone individually and trying to shut him down, and if zone is ever played in pick-up games in the States, I’ve never seen it. But it was cool in that there’s an added feeling of teamwork and camaraderie when you play zone defense and communicate with each other. I won’t be playing it again anytime soon, though, I’m sure, unless I can get in another game here before I leave.

Trackbacks

There are no trackbacks on this entry.