Watch out! The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) is moving toward “real professionaliztion.” Their grand scheme, called the “Polarstar Project,” launches this Sunday with the start of the 2005-2006 season, the league’s tenth year of existence.
“We defined the new season as an execution year in order to extend all these reforms to each club. We need insure our slogan ‘serve fans, serve sponsors and serve media’ could be operated properly and professionally in every stage,” said Li Yuanwei, executive vice president and secretary general of the Chinese Basketball Association, on [Nov. 10].
The polarstar project is planning to reform the domestic basketball league overall, including the marketing, game system, broadcasting, public image, backup system, dancing teams, etc., in order to create a new brand of basketball league and help the national teams to win historical results in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Swiss Infront Ltd. signed a multiple-year marketing contract with the CBA, which promises at least 650-million-U.S.-dollar income each year to the league, a sum that doubles the most of the league’s annual income for the past decade.
The Diamond Company donates championship rings and trophy to the league while domestic sportswear provider Anta Group builts a new lab to provide identical jerseys and sneakers to the over 300 players from the 15 teams.
Identical jerseys? For all the teams? Well, that will indeed make for an interesting season. (
And no, we have no idea what “Polarstar” means, either. We have been told that the Chinese for this is 北极星 or beiji xing, means “a star in north pole,” which “kind of” makes sense in this context.) The league unveiled two new slogans, as well: “My team, my game, my CBA” and “Vigorous CBA, it’s your time!,” which likely sounds better in Chinese, too. No word on whether the CBA’s new mission to serve the fans involves heating the gymnasiums this winter.
One thing that hasn’t changed this season is the fact that it is next to impossible to find a league schedule online, both for people searching in English and Chinese. We eventually got one, an Excel spreadsheet, from what appears to be the official CBA website around 10 days ago. Because we like you, we have translated the Shanghai Sharks schedule below.
Shanghaiist attended quite a few Sharks games two years ago. Courtside box seats were 100 kuai and they gave you all the green tea you could drink. Games weren’t bad either, thanks to some pretty exciting foreign players. We only went to one game last year, and there was a different vibe. Tickets had gone up — 150 kuai for a courtside seat — and the quality, of everything, had gone down. Even the paper the tickets were printed on was flimsy. According to this roster — which curiously lists all but two Sharks players as inactive — it looks like Shanghai’s foreign talent this season is Stanford’s Rob Little, who looks like a decent big man and Nigerian and Virginia Commonwealth product Reggie Okosa, who last played for Dodge City of the USBL. It’s been a while since the Sharks had Yao Ming roaming the paint.
2005-2006 SHANGHAI SHARKS SCHEDULE
11.20.2005, Shanghai at Dongguan, 3:30 pm
11.23.2005, Shanghai at Guangdong, 7:30 pm
11.25.2005, Yunnan at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
11.27.2005, Fujian at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
11.29.2005, Shanghai at Bayi, 7:30 pm
12.2.2005, Zhejiang at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
12.4.2005, Shanghai at Jiangsu, 7:30 pm
12.7.2005, Shanghai at Henan, 7:30 pm
12.9.2005, Shandong at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
12.11.2005, Beijing at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
12.16.2005, Shanghai at Liaoning, 7:30 pm
12.18.2005, Shanghai at Jilin, 7:30 pm
12.20.2005, Shanghai at Xinjiang, 7:30 pm
12.23.2005, Shanghai at Shaanxi, 7:30 pm
12.25.2005, Dongguan at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
12.28.2005, Guangdong at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
12.30.2005, Shanghai at Yunnan, 8 pm
1.1.2006, Shanghai at Fujian, 7:30 pm
1.4.2006, Shanghai at Zhejiang, 7:30 pm
1.6.2006, Bayi at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
1.8.2006, Shanghai at Jiangsu, 7:30 pm
1.11.2006, Dongguan at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
1.13.2006, Guangdong at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
1.15.2006, Shanghai at Yunnan, 3:30 pm
1.18.2006, Shanghai at Fujian, 7:30 pm
1.24.2006, Bayi at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
2.5.2006, Shanghai at Zhejiang, 7:30 pm
2.8.2006, Jiangsu at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
2.10.2006, Henan at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
2.12.2006, Shanghai at Shandong, 3:30 pm
2.15.2006, Shanghai at Beijing, 7:30 pm
2.19.2006, Liaoning at Shanghai, 3:30 pm
2.22.2006, Jilin at Shanghai, 7:30
2.24.2006, Xinjiang at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
2.26.2006, Shaanxi at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
3.1.2006, Shanghai at Dongguan, 7:30 pm
3.3.2006, Shanghai at Gunagdong, 7:30 pm
3.5.2006, Yunnan at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
3.8.2006, Fujian at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
3.10.2006, Zhejiang at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
3.12.2006, Shanghai at Bayi, 7:30 pm
3.15.2006, Jiangsu at Shanghai, 7:30 pm
Home games in bold
The Shanghai Sharks play their home games in Luwan Stadium, 128 Zhaojiabang Lu (肇家浜路128号).
China Basketball Association (in Chinese)
Shanghai Sharks team page (in Chinese)
Chinese Basketball news (from Asia-Basket.com)
Foreigners playing pro basketball in China (from Asia-Basket.com)
China Basketball Association coverage (from Asia-Basket.com)
Shanghai Sharks roster (from Asia-Basket.com)
Photo from Shanghai Diaries.