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A league of its own

By Shi Futian | Updated: 2023-03-27 20:04

Rural village's unique grassroots hoops tourney proves a winner on and off the court

An areial photo taken on March 26, 2023 shows the basketball court prior to the third-place match between Team Tongren and Team Bijie in Taipan village, Taijiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou province. "Village Basketball Association" or "Village BA", is a grassroot basketball tournament held in Taipan village. Organized by local residents, this event has gained popularity over the years and draws a large crowd of spectators and participants alike. The tournament showcases the passion and skills of basketball players from rural areas, as they compete and demonstrate their teamwork on the court. [Photo/Xinhua]

Just how big can the "Village Basketball Association" become? Even hoops legend Yao Ming says he's not sure if he can get a seat.

The popularity of this year's "Village BA" was evidenced by the sold-out crowds that packed into the 30,000-capacity stands over the weekend at Taipan village in Southwest China's Guizhou province.

The two-day event attracted fans from across the nation to the tiny village, which has a population of about 1,200. Media also descended on Taipan, with national broadcaster cctv.com even providing a live feed. The finals captured the imagination of netizens on Chinese social media, with the hashtags "Guizhou Village BA finals" and "People in the stands at Village BA are not photoshopped" viewed over 65 million and 14 million times respectively on Weibo by Monday afternoon.

Four teams contested this year's finals, which tipped off on Saturday. A torrential downpour forced the championship game to be rescheduled to Monday afternoon when Team Qiandongnan prevailed 68-65 against Team Zunyi. On Sunday, Team Tongren overcame Team Bijie 57-50 to finish third.

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