Post by Jon Pastuszek
November 22, 2012
They say you haven’t officially experienced the Chinese Basketball Association until you’ve witnessed fans pelt the floor with lighters, cups and bottles…
Tracy McGrady (and D.J. Mbenga), welcome to professional basketball in China!
Today marked the final game of the Qingdao Eagles’ pre-season schedule. Played in Binzhou, Shandong province, the game was to serve as a final warm-up match for the team and their star, McGrady, to find their legs and be ready for their season opener on Sunday at Fujian. It was also an opportunity for fans to:
A: Attend a CBA game, something that Binzhou-ians would otherwise have no way of seeing.
B: Watch a seven-time All-Star and a China basketball icon, T-Mac, something that Binzhou-ians would otherwise have no chance in hell of ever seeing. Ever.
Things started out promising: Playing against an international all-star team, McGrady scored five points in the first two minutes and the Eagles stormed off to a 13-0 run to start the game. McGrady was then subbed out. And then he sat. For a really long time. Actually, he sat for the rest of the game; 46 minutes, to be exact.
Anticipation turned into disappointment, disappointment turned into anger… and then, upset that they wasted their money on a ticket to merely see Shang Ping play, fans inside the stadium did what Chinese fans usually do when they’re mad. They chucked stuff onto the court.
T-Mac, being the good guy that he is, took the microphone and went to center court after the game to apologize to the fans and to thank them for their support. Then, he went further with his new job as peacemaker, throwing souvenirs into the crowd. Good thing he’s getting his practice in now… Qingdao plays on the road at Shanxi on December 21.