Panagiotis Giannakis, former head coach of the Greek basketball team, arrived in May to begin a four-year contract to lead the Chinese basketball team through the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. As of this writing, however -- following a blowout loss to Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Championship two weeks ago -- it doesn't look like Giannakis will survive the month.
Kobe Bryant recently wrapped up his 8th China tour -- another successful one, judging by the response -- and as part of Nike's Mamba Mentality campaign, this ad was recently released exclusively in China.
It's all over but the crying for the Chinese basketball team at the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship after a shocking 18-point defeat at the hands of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals today. With Yi Jianlian scoring the first bucket and Zhu Fangyu and Wang Shipeng hitting shots from the outside, China jumped out to an 8-3, then 13-5 lead, and at one point in the 2nd quarter was up by 17. CCTV-5 commentators, openly rooting for China, said Taiwan ("Chinese Taipei") looked like "little brother playing big brother."
Liaoning Whowin played host to Shangai Shenhua on August 1 (yes, eight days ago; sorry, this is late), which wouldn't be worth mentioning if not for a terrible, terrible tackle that might be called straight-up assault if it didn't happen on a soccer pitch. (And if people in real life, hilariously, also could not use their hands.) You can watch it above, or look at the screenshots below to get an idea of how bad it was.
Only three more days remain in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, beginning with the quarterfinals today. Can Iran run the tables and finish undefeated? Can host Philippines get past its first-round matchup? Will South Korea's hot streak continue? Is Yi Jianlian completely recovered from an injury that forced him to sit four games?
To help us make sense of it all, here's Nick Bedard of Basketball Buddha.
Kobe Bryant is currently in China with Nike, for the eighth time, to "inspire young athletes." "As a key part of his tour, Bryant will surprise fans by dropping in at various basketball courts in each city to watch players who have heeded the call to come out and play basketball at night," Nike reports, so if you want a chance to meet Kobe, get out there and play basketball on your city's most popular court at night.
Sun Yang -- who might objectively be the best freestyle swimmer in the world -- pulled off a "miracle swim" even for his standards on Friday in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
Check out the video above. When Sun hits the water (lane 8, very bottom of the screen), his team's in fifth place and more than two seconds behind the third-place French. All he does is swim 200 meters in 1:43.96 and beat both the French (lane 6) and Japanese (lane 3) swimmers by a fingertip.
China got a wake-up call yesterday in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship in Manila, losing to South Korea 83-79. Today, it took out its frustration on Malaysia with a historic beating.
China scored the first 28 points. More than nine minutes lapsed before Malaysia made a bucket.
A lot of times in blowouts, a team will race ahead to a large deficit -- 40, maybe 50 points -- and then put it on cruise control. The overmatched but determined opponent will then shave the margin to a respectable 30 by game's end. This is not what happened here.
South Korea's not known for its basketball, but it made a huge statement in the opening game of the FIBA Asia Championship yesterday in Manila, beating the defending champs -- that's China -- 83-79 in a game that Nick Bedard of Buddha Basketball said kept "everyone... on the edge of their seats."
You could be forgiven for thinking that, entering its third and final match in the East Asian Cup on Sunday in Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul, China had already exceeded expectations. Its toughest tests came in the first two games of this four-team tournament, and it passed -- "won," one might say, in the way that soccer teams can win draws. It mustered a furious late rally to erase a 3-1 deficit against Japan last Sunday, then summoned an intense defensive effort to keep a fesity South Korean squad out of the net on Wednesday -- this from a team that gave its weary fans no reason to expect these results, having convincingly lost its three previous contests.
Belgian international Jan Vertonghen, a key piece in Tottenham's defense, suffered an ankle injury in the second half of a friendly at Hong Kong Stadium yesterday. He slipped on the watery turf and now may miss the start of the English Premier League campaign on August 18, depending on MRI results.
The Chinese soccer team pulled off another minor miracle on Wednesday night in its second match in the East Asian Cup, withstanding South Korea's relentless attacks and holding them to a scoreless draw in Hwaseong Stadium near Seoul. It was the second positive result this week -- on Sunday, China roared back from two goals down to tie Japan 3-3 in the final minutes, its first non-loss in four matches. Now, two non-losses in the last two. If these guys keep this up, movies will be made about them.
China's soccer team scored two goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch an improbable 3-3 draw against Japan in the opening game of the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup on Sunday in Seoul.
China had lost three consecutive games, including an embarrassing 5-1 home defeat to a mostly junior Thailand team last month. Japan are Asian champions. This result was not expected.
On Wednesday, AFP reported that Manchester United, the storied 135-year-old football club, finally joined Twitter and Sina Weibo. It has 446,714 followers on Twitter as of this moment and a modest-by-comparison 171,510 followers on Weibo, but realize this: Arsenal, which has had a Sina Weibo account for at least a year and has posted 7,238 messages compared to Man U's 46, has only 88,815 followers. Even in the realm of Chinese social media, the Red Devils reign supreme.
Former Los Angeles Lakers basketball player Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest, apparently had a very impressionable trip to Beijing and Qingdao recently, because now he's thinking about playing basketball in this country, perhaps with Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks. This would be a win for everyone, especially us. And you. Metta World Peace is awesome.
We've seen NBA players -- namely, those on the Miami Heat -- try to speak Chinese before, to bad results. We wish we could say this video, featuring Dwight Howard and John Wall, was better, but why would we say that?
Actually, a few reasons:
Move over, Stephon Marbury and Shaquille O'Neal: another NBA player has a statue in China.
Of course it's Kobe Bryant. Reports Dan Devine of Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie via Lakers fan Eddie Robles: "there appears to be a sculpture celebrating Bryant in the Chinese province of Guangzhou."
It's difficult -- it really is -- to say Chinese soccer has reached a "new" low, considering its history of match-fixing and utter, abysmal, unmitigated failure on the international stage (its only World Cup appearance coming in the year when two other Asian countries had automatic bids into the tourney). But after losing 5-1 to a mostly junior Thailand team on home turf on Saturday, more than a few fans are saying this is the bottom. "Disband the national team" has become something of a commonplace chant, as meaningless as "black whistle" when refs screw up, but the rallying cry attained something of a feverish tone of urgency on Saturday. Can it get worse? If so, it's only because we're talking about Chinese football here.
The Netherlands were in Beijing yesterday for an international friendly in Workers' Stadium. Less than 10 minutes in, Arjen Robben drew a penalty kick -- a pretty clear foul in which the defender slid into his heel -- and Robin van Persie connected for the game's first goal.
It's the second goal, however, that deserves your attention.