Georgetown’s brawl may mark end for Chinese pro team

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When Georgetown brawled with a Chinese basketball team back in August, it resulted in one of those “seriously?” moments when you weren’t quite sure why an event took place.

The Hoyas were on a goodwill trip of exhibition games through China, mostly to sightsee, build team chemistry and start prepping for the 2011-12 season. Yet a melee with the Bayi Rockets, a Chinese pro team?

How does that happen?

As more news trickled out in the following days, the Rockets emerged as that team, the one who bullies others, gets all the calls and has a sense of entitlement because it has more resources (available players) than other teams. It was the Red Army’s team and pulled players from wherever it needed, whenever it needed. And, like any good dynasty, it had these resources when other teams didn’t.

But things have changed recently. The Rockets aren’t popular and the brawl may be the last straw.

As Jim Yardley, the South Asia Bureau Chief for the New York Times, writes over at Grantland:

The ironic thing is that the Georgetown brawl might help push Bayi into extinction. In recent years there has been speculation that the PLA might be losing interest in a team that now struggles to make the playoffs. Wang Zhizhi (who didn’t play against Georgetown) is nearing retirement, and once he quits, the team’s fate will be even more uncertain. Bayi used to be a reliable propaganda property; during my visit to CCTV, the studio crew peppered commercial breaks with special promos for Bayi players. But the Georgetown brawl was nothing to be proud of. On the Internet, Chinese fans blamed the Bayi team for lacking discipline, for being bad hosts, for not acting like professionals. Not even CCTV could hide that.

Well, that’s one way to go.

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