One more day to Yao Ming’s news conference and the NY Times has this piece about the state of basketball in China. Similar to the problems with men’s football in China, there are not enough talented young talent being fostered and there are no resources to enable later-developing players to play professionally. Organized youth and school leagues are nonexistent due to a mix of funding, societal (the all-consuming role of education for kids where there’s no room for organized sports) and an outdated reliance on state sports schools. The coach of the men’s team, an American, flat out says “What’s amazing is that in a country of 1.3 billion I can’t find a point guard”.” The article ends with a quote that Yao gave to Chinese media and it’s a sad indication of the enormous responsibility the big man has had to carry for his country. Though given it’s a translated comment, it may not be an accurate representation of what he said, but the sentiment is probably true enough.
I hate how almost every time I write about sports and China, it has to be something negative. I wish I could feature good news and I’m hopeful there will be some time. For now, just bear with the bad news.