Sunday, August 10, 2008

The ReDeam Team

USA basketball just played their first game of the XXIX Olympics.  To start their road to redemption, USA's "dream team" part II, beat the home team China by 31 points, 101-70.  The stadium was packed and the fans were cheering for both teams, even though China is the home favorite.  Wade scored 19 points and James had 18 for the Americans in one of the most highly anticipated events of these Summer Games. 

The Chinese people LOVE the NBA and basketball is an up and coming thing in China.  The "ambassador" of basketball to the Chinese people is Yao Ming, and the NBA popularity only is growing.  Yi Jianling followed in Yao's shoes and is now with the NJ Nets in a huge market.  There were only 4 Chinese players in the NBA when Yao entered in 2002, now there are 77 players in the NBA.

China is trying to put at least one basketball court in all of its provinces.  The Chinese media and fans love all NBA players.  Yao's jersey is only the sixth best seller in China, behind Kobe, D Wade, and James.  Team USA could not even stay at the Olympic village because of there extreme popularity with fans and media.  Kobe Bryant got slammed with media so much when he visited the Olympic village.  He was late to the teams practice and first game because the fans were flashing pictures and wanting to touch the star as he walked to the arena.  

The Chinese do not seem to have a chance at meddling this Olympics, but anything is possible.  The entire country has grown to love basketball and NBA players and are welcoming Team USA on their "road to redemption" winning back the gold medal.

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