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Rural basketball tournament eyes interactions with NBA

By YANG JUN in Guiyang and ZHANG XIAOMIN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-01 00:11

The Cun BA, or Village Basketball Association tournament gets underway on March 22 at Taipan village in Guizhou province's Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture. The tournament continues through November. [Photo by Wu Wei / For China Daily]

The Cun BA basketball tournament, one of China's popular grassroots sports competitions, plans more interactions with NBA professionals in the current season.

This year's tournament, which started on March 22 at Taipan village in Guizhou province's Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, will last through November.

"We plan to take the championship team to an exchange program with the NBA, allowing them to experience, learn from and interact with professional NBA players," Cen Jianglong, head of Taipan and co-organizer of the tournament, said on Friday.

During the Cun BA, or Village Basketball Association, tournament, at least one NBA player will visit Taipan to interact with players and the local community, he said.

Cen said the organizing committee plans to establish the Cun BA alliance through the tournament and foster the development of rural basketball.

More than 600 teams from 24 provincial-level regions, including 75 from Guizhou, have registered for this year's event. More than half of each team's players must be farmers, with the rest coming from different walks of life, including herdsmen, teachers and businessmen, according to Cen.

The men's five-per-side basketball tournament has three stages: the preliminary rounds, group stage qualifiers and the final competition.

The basketball games, originally held to mark a local festival that falls on the sixth day of the sixth month on the Chinese lunar calendar, went viral in 2022, garnering online views of more than 1.5 billion that year. In 2023, the event received over 55 billion views, further consolidating its status as a cultural and sporting phenomenon.

In its third year, Cun BA remains both a basketball competition and a carnival.

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