I wrote constantly about the 2008 Summer Olympics team and how I thought they were the best basketball team ever assembled that weren't robots). Their combination of shooting and sheer athleticism was absolutely astounding.
But if we learned anything from those basketball games, it was really that basketball is a game of adaptation. You see, America had to adjust to the world’s style of play to once again beat the world.
Spreading the floor, combating zone defenses, having five shooting threats on the floor at once, playing an up-tempo. These were all things new to the American professional basketball player, but they were all accomplished in the summer of '08.
So in theory, the tables of adaptation were turned once again. The NBA’s elite, accompanied their newfound finesse offenses and trap defenses, with some of the most physical and powerful basketball you will ever see.
So the question now is; how is the rest of the world coming along as they adapt to the physical American style of play? If today’s news out of China is any indication—the answer is, poorly.
In what has to be the most hilarious sports story of the year thus far, The China Basketball Association, after their initiative to make the game more physical, has seen a record number of league fines. Nearly 1 million yuan has already been doled out in fines.
But here’s the kicker, nearly every fine has been a product of people other than the players, not understanding the physicality of the game.
The Chinese fans have been the reason for a number of these fines, for essentially bringing soccer-style hooligans inside of the arena. The physical play is so new to them, they are looking for vengeance every time a player takes a hard foul.
But according to league commissioner, Liu Xiaonong, the fans aren’t the only ones struggling to get the picture. Xiaonong has been quoted as having an incredible frustration with the game officials in his league. Apparently, the physical play is so new to them, they have no idea what calls they are supposed to make.
You can’t make this up. And to think it was all done with the best of intentions.
“After the Olympics, we realized that unless we strengthened our physical presence, Chinese basketball would not be able to compete with the world's best,” said Xiaonong.
But Xiaonong was more than aware of the problem.
“The league has not done a good enough job in getting the message about physicality out.”
Now, the fact China tried to drastically change their games of basketball, but literally had no idea how to do it, is pretty hilarious. But, I wouldn’t have brought light to this hilarious story unless there was an equally hilarious solution.
China has invited NBA officials to come during the off season and teach their officials how to better make calls.
Dick Bavetta has not felt this important since he raced Charles Barkley at the all-star game.
Enjoy your weekend everyone.