China’s New Basketball Role Model is Ron Artest?

When David Aldridge suggested a few days ago that Yao Ming feels like the Tracy McGrady Traveling Convalescence Show has an open-ended engagement that will sink his chance at an NBA title, he didn’t mention who might replace Tracy in Yao’s five.  (There’s plenty of room since Chuck got removed at the network level, of course.)

Considering how hard Yao Ming’s been pushing his old China Basketball Association to toughen up so the Summer Olympics’ butt-whoopin’ won’t hurt so much on their tender and underskilled bottoms, perhaps Yao’s new teammate, Ron Artest, is up to the task of the 3 am phone call.  (After all, that would be 5 pm in Shanghai.)

Yao Ming Ron Artest

We suggest Ron-Ron because fans and players haven’t adjusted to the new rougher play in China and fines have come down hard on both for “violence on and off the court”.  When we reported on Chinese cheerleaders in the CBA in March, we noted subdued crowds.  Guess that’s taken care of, too.  We’d suggest sending China T-shirt guns to complete the NBA starter kit, but we’re guessing restrictions on objects with military applications will squelch that deal.

Actually, the CBA has the final piece it needs to start their own Li’l NBA: a bona-fide NBA star who is tearing up the league at a 32-and-9 pace this season.  You’ll never guess who…


… unless you’re a big Handel fan (or fan of handles).

Bonzi Wells has taken the CBA by storm.  He even has the classiest theme music in all organized basketball.  When he throws up one of those 52-point performances or jams on one of his lesser opponents (read: all of them), the PA announcer plays Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus.

Bonzi Wells: Chinese messiah.  That may be the seventh seal.  Maybe the Mayans’ calendars were a few years off.

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