Some day, when historians write the story of the rise of Chinese Football -- the team's long path from national laughingstock to World Cup champion -- they'll point to this year's Asian Cup as the turning point. More specifically, they'll cite tonight's game (7:30 pm China time, 9:30 Queensland), during which a scrappy and young squad caught magic and upset the tourney hosts in a sold-out and raucous Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Time to meet the official Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics mascot – Nanjing LeLe, the meaty-tongued phallus.
According to the organizers of this August event, one of his favorite foods is duck blood and vermicelli soup, he’s a Sagittarius with Type O blood, and his least favorite thing to do is “play alone.”
We're not sure whether Liu Yuxi is a certified reporter, but she's been assigned to CCTV studio commentary for this year's World Cup, and judging by her Sina Weibo account, she appears to be a huge homer for front-runners and generally popular teams such as Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina (Messi, specifically). But Ms. Liu saves her true passion for Italy, which we know because -- donning the Azzurri blue -- she broke down and sobbed on live television tonight following Italy's 1-0 loss to Uruguay.
China won’t be playing in Brazil – they have appeared at a World Cup just once and failed to score a goal – but millions will stay up late to watch the games, probably starting this Friday at 4 am when Croatia kicks off against the host nation in São Paulo. Here are 10 things in this year's World Cup with a Chinese connection.
Ready for another Olympics, Beijingers? This city's joint bid with Zhangjiakou (in neighboring Hebei province) for the 2022 Winter Games has come a long way since it was announced last November. Back then, we called Beijing's chances "slim," but look what's happened in the months since:
For the seventh consecutive year on Monday, the Chinese men's ping-pong team won the Swaythling Cup. (Apparently familiarity doesn't make the trophy any less awkward to handle.) It's the 19th time they've finished first at the World Table Tennis Championships, which was held this time in Tokyo. The Chinese women's team, not to be outdone, also won -- also its 19th team title at this worlds competition. The women have lost only twice since 1975.
Via China News: "April 13, 2014, Pyongyang, DPRK, Kim Il-sung Stadium hosted the 27th annual Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon to commemorate the late Kim Il-sung, Great Leader of North Korea. According to the Associated Press, this year's race was the first time foreign travelers were allowed to participate."
After leading Beijing to its first Chinese Basketball Association championship two years ago, Stephon Marbury was given his own bronze statue. We wondered, after his second CBA title, how Beijing would honor its adopted Coney Island point guard, and now we know: by giving him a key to the city.
The Beijing Ducks won the CBA championship last night in Xinjiang, beating the Flying Tigers 98-88 in Game 6. Here are some photos and a video of the celebration. The top image, by the way, is now Stephon Marbury's profile pic on Sina Weibo:
Beijing is again king of Chinese basketball. The Ducks beat the Xinjiang Flying Tigers 98-88 tonight in Urumqi, clinching the CBA championship 4 games to 2. Stephon Marbury and Randolph Morris, who played so shockingly poorly in Game 5 in Beijing that I heard more than one person say they threw the game (14 points each, combined 7 for 38 from the field), redeemed themselves by scoring 28 and 30 points, respectively.
Believe it or not, a 37-year-old point guard from Coney Island, New York who played 13 years in the NBA is putting the city of Beijing on his back.
With one CBA championship on his resume -- and a statue outside MasterCard Center -- Stephon Marbury already is a Chinese basketball living legend. So what happens if he wins another, all while averaging 28 points per game this postseason on a bum knee?
The professional basketball team in Beijing is called the Ducks, but I don't see why. It should be the Beijing Stephon Marburies. There is no player more valuable to his team -- not Yi Jianlian for Guangdong, not Doug McDermott for Creighton, not even LeBron James for Miami -- than Marbury is to Beijing, and if you needed any proof, just fire up last night's decisive Game 5 of the CBA semifinals, which saw the Ducks beat the Guangdong Southern Tigers 110-102 in Dongguan.
Nick Bedard of Basketball Buddha is courtside on press row at MasterCard Center, aka Wukesong, for tonight's Game 4 clash between the Beijing Ducks (23-11 regular season, No. 4 in standings) and Guangdong Southern Tigers (30-4, No. 1). Thanks to an epic performance from Stephen Marbury on Saturday in an overtime win, Beijing currently has a 2 games to 1 lead in this best three-out-of-five series. We now join our regularly scheduled Bedard in progress.
Stephon Marbury may have turned in his finest CBA performance -- and it came against the best team in the league, the defending CBA champion Guangdong Southern Tigers. With his head bandaged for the last four minutes of the fourth quarter and through overtime -- the result of a gash sustained during one of his trademark drives to the basket -- the 37-year-old finished Saturday night with 43 points on 13-for-20 shooting (including 4-for-8 from behind the arc).
The first event of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia begins in about twelve hours, with the opening ceremony happening on Friday at 8 pm Sochi time (midnight for those in China). By now you've probably already decided to watch on the decent chance that it becomes a delightful disaster, but lost in all the stories about stray dogs, toilets, substandard facilities and Potemkin villages is the fact that sports will be on display.