Tracy McGrady has finally signed in China with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. The former NBA- and Team USA star confirmed the deal himself via his Facebook page. There had been rumors for several weeks about Tracy McGrady possibly going to China.
China has an insatiable hunger for any player who has a big name. Must be American of course. It doesn’t hurt that multi-billionaires are supporting these teams, and are in desperate search for any opportunity to flash their money, show the world how successful they are, and aggressively demand the respect they have lusted for their entire life.
At the same time, several former NBA players who are over the hill still want to play and get paid big. Ego meets ego and millions of dollars are thrown around. It is a perfect marriage.
However, the downside is that the Chinese league has become sort of a Frankenstein’s monster because of the enormous differences in quality between the players.
Imagine a girls high school team with Kobe Bryant in its ranks, playing against another girl’s high school team with LeBron James on the roster. That pretty much illustrates the situation in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Especially in Europe, people look down on Chinese basketball. This has to do with an enormous cultural gap between the two continents. In Europe, sports is a metaphor. It is a tribal war. The only thing that matters is winning. In China however, sports is entertainment. Winning at any costs is less important than in Europe.
Young Chinese teenage girls want to fantasize about American super stars, teenage boys see them as role models, and the older Chinese fans come out of curiosity to watch the Americans whom they see as aliens from another planet. The result is that every game in China is sold out. To Europeans this is a freak show that has nothing to do with sports, but to the Chinese is a successful mix of entertainment and business.