left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Foreigners get taste of All-Star thrills

Updated: 2012-02-21 08:07
By Sun Xiaochen ( China Daily)

Foreigners get taste of All-Star thrills

A Chinese hoopster shows off his slam-dunk skills during the CBA's All-Star Weekend. While emulating the entertaining NBA All-Star Weekend, the event also provided a stage for the league's foreign imports to experience the game's fun side. Cui Meng / China Daily

GUANGZHOU - The CBA provided its foreign imports, who have not been able to make the NBA All-Star Game, with a similar basketball festival at the weekend.

Emulating the entertaining NBA All-Star Weekend, the CBA All-Star Game provided a stage for currently ex-NBA players to experience the game's fun side.

This year's edition, which concluded with the North side beating the South at the Guangzhou International Sports Arena on Sunday, saw a group of American players make their All-Star debuts.

Inspired by the modern facilities and a scintillating atmosphere in the sold-out stadium, foreigners like of Aaron Brooks, Charles Gaines and William McDonald put on a show for the fans.

Brooks, a former Houston Rocket who signed with the CBA's Guangdong Southern Tigers during last year's NBA lockout, showed off some dazzling crossover dribbles and no-look passes while Gaines and McDonald attacked the rim with powerful dunks.

Brooks, who led the game in assists - with nine, said he thoroughly enjoyed his first All-Star appearance.

"This is a great experience. I just wanted to have fun. It's my first (pro league) All-Star game ... and I just tried to entertain the fans and stay healthy," said the 27-year-old.

McDonald, Fujian SBS's American import, echoed his countryman's sentiment.

"I am an American but I just watch the NBA All-Star Game on TV. I've never been a part of an All-Star Game before," said the veteran, who spent eight seasons playing in Europe after graduating from the University of South Florida in 2003.

"To be a part of an All-Star game in another country is different. It was nice, the whole weekend was set up nice, I think it's perfect," said McDonald who was courtside with his wife and children after the game.

Although vowing to just have fun, both squads turned up their intensity in a quest for victory in the final period.

McDonald said that was typical of All-Star games.

Leading the South side's offense with 25 points, McDonald hailed Brooks as the best performer while picking his Fujian teammate, Zaid Abbaas, as the player who provided the team's chemistry.

"He (Brooks) showed what he knew and played around with the fans. He did what he should at an All-Star event," said the 32-year-old.

"Abbaas is my teammate in Fujian. I've been playing with him for a year. For me, he's a perfect teammate. I could play with him from now until we retire."

Like most foreigners in the league, McDonald also understands compatriots J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler deciding to opt out of their China adventure quickly.

"I know the fans want to see those players, but they can make a lot of money in the NBA and they are going back to do that. These guys are younger than us. They have got huge futures, so they are going for their goals," said McDonald.

Before the All-Star Game, the organizers assembled more than 40 media outlets in China to vote for the regular season MVP and Guangdong's veteran forward Zhu Fangyu won the honor for a record sixth time.

Zhu averaged 16.9 points and 4.2 rebounds to help the Southern Tigers claim the top spot this regular season.

Despite playing with Zhu for less than five months, Brooks was full of praise for the national player's leadership.

"He definitely should, why wouldn't he (be MVP)" Brooks said. "We have got the best record and he's the second leading Chinese scorer. His leadership ... what can I say? It (the MVP title) should go to the best team's leader."

As for himself, Brooks will probably stay one more month with Guangdong, who qualified for the CBA finals, before returning to the US.

Still, the NBA's 2010 Most Improved Player doesn't regret his China sojourn at all.

"This is the path I chose. I think I have become a better player over here and that's going to benefit my career back in the NBA."

China Daily


Hot Topics

The mudslide occurred at an iron ore mine in the Araltobe township of Xinyuan county, Ili Kazak autonomous prefecture, a spokesman for the prefecture's fire brigade said.