China Cares Less About NBA Preseason Than Us?

It’s a play on the old “tree falling in a woods” hypothetical scenario: If the NBA holds a preseason and nobody’s around to see it, does it even happen? Last week Brooks posted about the horrid numbers that NBA preseason action in Vegas was getting, but that looks like a ratings bonanza compared to the amount of interest it received in China.

Empty Seats

(Three’s a crowd?)

In case you didn’t know, the NBA held two preseason games in China last week between the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks. But since these two teams don’t have much in the way of “star power”, pretty much everyone in China went about their daily lives, never even pausing to acknowledge the fact that the NBA even exists.


Bereft of local icons like Houston Rockets all-star center Yao Ming, New Jersey Nets forward Yi Jianlian, or Team USA standouts LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, the two games between Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks in Guangzhou and Beijing were not as successful as expected and did little to expand the NBA’s foothold in increasingly prosperous China.

According to a public poll by leading Internet portal, 34 percent of respondents paid no attention to the games. For those who bought tickets or watched on TV, 26 percent described the games as “boring”, 23 percent bemoaned the lack of Chinese players and only 17 percent commented positively on the experience.

But the real question is, do you honestly think the NBA was stupid enough to believe the smooth skills of “superstars” like Richard Jefferson, Malik Allen, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington would be enough to get the Chinese public excited? Or that they figured Don Nelson’s fabulous hair would be enough to draw?

No, sirs. The guess here is that the NBA expected Chinese fans to get excited over any and all basketball players that were shipped overseas. Because, to them, we all look alike!