On Friday April 8th, the Chinese Basketball Association announced the 37-player Men’s National Team roster that will train at the China National Sports Training Center in Beijing this spring in preparation for the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship. The competition, which will be held in Henan, China from September 15-25, is the the qualifying tournament for FIBA Asia for the 2012 London Summer Olympics men’s basketball tournament.
With both the CBA and NBA seasons still in progress, the roster has been split up into three separate groups, each of which have different mandatory dates to report. Group 1, which is comprised of 11 players whose teams did not make the CBA playoffs this season, officially reported to training yesterday afternoon. Group 2, which has 21 players, all of whom played playoff basketball, will report sometime around May 1st, while Group 3, China’s NBA players, will join everyone at a later date.
Among the usual names like Yi Jianlin, Wang Zhizhi, and Liu Wei is Yao Ming, who despite missing most of season with a stress fracture in his left ankle was selected by the CBA to represent the National Team this summer in Beijing. Though he’ll be required to report, Yao’s selection is almost certainly only symbolic — throughout the year the CBA has maintained they will exercise extreme caution in allowing Yao to recover from yet another serious injury, and have even implied that the big man’s National Team career could very well be over, even if his ankle heals properly.
Yao, who will spend time in China this summer, was happy after learning of his selection.
“It’s an honor to be selected to the National Team. If my foot allows, I’ll be right there to cheer them on,” said Yao to a Chinese reporter in Houston.
Unlike in the United States and other Western countries, Chinese players are required to serve on the National Team if called upon. Since players were raised and trained by the state, as opposed to Western players who received coaching from club teams, schools and amateur associations, the top Chinese athletes have only their country to thank for their development, and thus athletes’ priorities to their country come before those of both their professional team and themselves. The superiority of the state over the individual in sports is one of the main cultural differences between China and the West.
The roster will be paired down in June as Team China will play a number of warm-up games in preparation for the Asia Championship.
Sun Jie (孙杰) Guard, Shandong*
Guo Ailun (郭艾伦), Guard, Liaoning
Yu Shulong (于澍龙) Guard, Jilin*
Zhong Cheng (钟诚) Guard, Jilin*
Liu Ziqiu (刘子秋) Forward, Shanghai
Peng Fei (彭飞), Forward, Shanghai
Duan Jiangpeng (段江鹏), Forward, Shanxi
Zhang Xuewen (张学文), Forward, Shanxi*
He Tianju (贺天举), Forward, Liaoning
Li Xiaoxu (李晓旭), Center, Liaoning*
Han Dejun (韩德君), Center, Liaoning
Chen Jianghua (陈江华) Guard, Guangdong
Wang Shipeng (王仕鹏) Guard, Guangdong*
Zhang Bo (张博) Guard, Bayi
Han Shuo (韩硕) Guard, Bayi
Liu Wei (刘炜) Guard, Shanghai*
Sun Yue (孙悦) Guard, Beijing Aoshen
Zhang Qingpeng (张庆鹏) Guard, Xinjiang*
Xirelijiang (西热力江) Guard, Xinjiang
Zhou Peng (周鹏) Forward, Guangdong
Zhu Fangyu (朱芳雨) Forward, Guangdong*
Dong Hanlin (董瀚麟) Forward, Guangdong
Wang Lei (王磊)Forward, Bayi
Mo Ke (莫科) Forward, Bayi*
Ding Jinhui (丁锦辉) Forward, Zhejiang Chouzhou*
Yi Li (易立) Forward, Jiangsu*
Zhang Kai (张凯) Forward, DongGuan*
Meng Duo (孟铎) Forward, DongGuan
Su Wei (苏伟) Center, Guangdong*
Wang Zhizhi (王治郅) Center, Bayi*
Zhang Zhaoxu (张兆旭) Center, Shanghai
Zhang Songtao (张松涛) Center, Beijing Aoshen
Yi Jianlian (易建联) Forward, Washington Wizards
Yao Ming (姚明) Center, Houston Rockets**
Mengke Bateer (巴特尔) Center, Xinjiang*
Tang Zhengdong (唐正东) Center, Jiangsu
Wang Zheng (王征) Center, Guangdong
* Denotes 2010-11 CBA All-Star
** Denotes 2010-11 NBA All-Star