By PAI WAI
BEIJING (China Daily Show) – The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) today announced an unusual new requirement for next season’s overseas players – blindfolds.
The rule, which applies only to players who are black, can dunk or are just way better than the Chinese, is expected to affect all foreign players.
“We must focus on developing domestic Chinese basketball stars by creating a fair playing environment,” said Zhang Xiong, the CBA’s director of operations. “This regulation will encourage coaches to use Chinese players, rather than relying on expensive, talented and all-around better imports.”
Currently, CBA teams are allowed to have two overseas players; Hong Kong and Taiwanese players are considered Chinese. These players can play a combined six quarters per game or five when playing the Chinese PLA team, the Bayi Rockets.
Despite these restrictions, and the fact that most top players choose to play in the NBA or Europe, overseas players have enjoyed tremendous success in the CBA.
NBA benchwarmer Andre Emmett, who played a total of 71 minutes in 14 NBA games, holds the CBA record for points in a game after dropping 71 on the Jiangsu Dragons in 2010. Dominican professional player Garth Joseph racked up a total of 2 rebounds in his NBA career before joining the Shaanxi Kylins, where he pulled down 38 boards in one game, obliterating the previous CBA record.
The press release was greeted with enthusiasm on the Chinese side. Shanghai Sharks and national team guard Liu Wei told reporters, “If this rule had been implemented earlier, I might have been a starter at the All-Star game, instead of that guy who looks like Obama” – a clear reference to New York Knicks player JR Smith.
But some were sceptical about how big an impact the ‘blindfold rule’ would actually make. Former USA Dream Team guard Stephon Marbury, who recently led the Beijing Ducks to championship victory, predicted any effects would be temporary.
“The first coupla games are going to be tough, adjusting to zero visibility,” Marbury admitted. “But after that, I’m sure I’ll get used to it and go back to slappin’ bitches around.”
The rule comes as ex-NBA superstar Marbury basks in the success of a CBA victory before 18,000 fans in the first-ever Chinese championship last Friday, scoring 41 points, while fellow American Randolph Morris sealed the victory with two free throws.
Fans immediately began an online petition to have a statue built in honour of Marbury; officials have cautiously agreed to the plan, with the condition that the bronze star has a large bag placed over its head.
In response, the CBA has indicated further restrictions may also be considered should blindfolds prove unsuccessful. Options under discussion include heavier shoes, leg irons, tying one arm behind the back and a “no shooting” rule for imports.
Follow top China news at @chinadailyshow on Twitter