Over at VICE Sports, I took a deep dive into the Chinese Basketball Association and all the institutional problems that face the league. From afar, they might seem to be prospering, with Stephon Marbury as the face of the CBA and NBA prospect Emmanuel Mudiay set to play there next season instead of the NCAA.
But, the league has a history of not paying its overseas players and have terrible officiating that’s hurting the competitive fairness of games. And that’s just the start of the problems.
I also spoke with Andrew Crawford, who runs Shark Fin Hoops (which every basketball fan should check out), about some of these issues.
You can read the entire piece here. An excerpt is below.
The CBA—a state-owned league founded in 1995—currently consists of 18 teams, and each one serves as a potential landing spot for the army of players who can’t cut it in the NBA.
But that changed this summer, when top college prospect Emmanuel Mudiay decided to forgo the NCAA system and instead take the instant financial reward of playing in a professional league. Mudiay signed with the Guangdong Tigers of the CBA for a one-year deal worth $1.2 million. What makes Mudiay anomalous is his career trajectory as both a future NBA lottery pick and one who has chosen to play in China as an alternative to the NCAA. If he has a positive experience in China this season, players in Mudiay’s position will consider taking a similar route, and the CBA stands to benefit.
However, there is cause for concern. Aside from the difficulty of adjusting to a new culture, CBA teams have a history of simply not paying their overseas imports. Most recently, Chris Daniels of the Liaoning Jaguars found himself in the position of seeking payment from his team. In order to force the team’s hand, FIBA—the governing body of world basketball—had to step in and deal with the issue. The Jaguars have told FIBA that they don’t intend to pay Daniels, even though FIBA has levied fines on them.