The year 2013 was an interesting year for basketball in Asia.
In 2012, if somebody told me Tracy McGrady, Quincy Douby and Dennis Rodman would all make headlines in 2013 for their stints in Asia I would have went all in to call their bluff.
Here is your 2013 basketball buddha year end review.
Puffing the Brave Dragon
Marcus Williams of the Shanxi Brave Dragons tests positive for cannabis and is banned from the Chinese Basketball Association for six months.
Williams, 6’7 out of the University of Arizona (2nd round draft choice by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007), becomes the first player to fail a drug test in the CBA’s 17 year history. In the NBA, you get three chances to fail a marijuana test before getting suspended (only five games).
Douby lights up the stat sheet
It’s not uncommon for a foreigner to move to Asia and re-invent himself.
Quincy Douby went from averaging 4.1 points a game in the NBA to scoring 75-points in one game on January 3rd 2013. He took 38 shots, making 23 of them and went nine of 15 from beyond the arc.
The 75-point outburst broke the previous record set in 2010 by Andre Emmett who scored 71-points in a single game.
Ironically, Douby lit up the Shanxi Brave Dragons who were without their star foreign player Marcus Williams due to that marijuana thing.
Goodbye T-Mac, Hello Worm
Tracy McGrady signed with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles for the 2012-2013 CBA season.
His popularity was at an all time high but his game was at an all time low.
During his tenure with Qingdao: a coach got fired, the other foreign player (two-time NBA champion DJ Mbenga) was waived from the team, McGrady runs off the court during a game with diarrhea, he gets suspended for publicly calling the referees ‘three blind mice’ and decided to start charging $5,000 USD per interview.
On Feb. 17, 2013, McGrady played his final game in China. A thirty-point performance was quickly overshadowed by his team’s final rank in the standings; second-to-last.
And then… this happened.
Leave it up to the guys at VICE Media to pitch such a crazy idea.
On February 26, 2013, Dennis Rodman lands on North Korean soil to host a basketball game. He becomes one of the first Americans to meet North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-Un.
Rodman and Kim would become “friends for life”.
CBA stands for China Boston Agreement
As the CBA season ends, foreign players playing in China return to America in hopes to get a call from an NBA team.
The Boston Celtics had China on their radar.
On March 1st, they signed D.J. White who spent the CBA season playing with Gilbert Arenas for Yao Ming’s Shanghai Sharks.
That same day, the Celtics picked up former Duke Blue Devil Shavlik Randolph fresh off a year of playing for the Foshan Long Lions of the CBA.
On March 2nd, the Cs inked a deal with Terrence Williams. He played a key role in leading Guangdong Southern Tigers to the top of the CBA standings before moving back to America.
In Korea, Rod Benson sweeps for a championship
In April 2013, the Korean Basketball League (KBL) rapped up its 2012-2013 season with a clean sweep from Mobis Ulsan Phoebus over the favored Seoul SK Knights.
KBL All-Star forward Rod Benson of the University of California finally gets his championship with Mobis after three consecutive visits to the finals.
Never fear; the greek is here
On May 14th, 2013, Panagiotis Giannakis arrives in Beijing, China… wait a minute, who?
Giannakis was hired on by the Chinese government to coach their national basketball team.
Nicknamed “The Dragon”, Giannakis coached the national team in Greece for eleven years leading them to a second place finish in the 2006 FIBA World Championships (now called the FIBA World Cup of Basketball). He was the bench boss for the greek team that knocked out the United States in the semi-finals of the tournament.
In 2005, Giannakis won gold at the EuroBasket tournament coaching the Greek national team.
Jump to August 2013 for his performance with China.
“This summer, I will travel to Asia.” – NBA
Over the course of the offseason, NBA players and coaches traveled to Asia for various reasons.
Here are the individuals who would touchdown in Asia during the month of June.
The 2013 Asia Pacific Team Nike Camp saw the likes of Kyle Singler (Detroit Pistons), Bernard James (Dallas Mavericks), Dee Brown (2nd round 2006 NBA draft pick), Lionel Hollins (NBA coach), Monty Williams (Head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans), Tyronne Corbin (Head coach of the Utah Jazz) and a special appearance from Yao Ming.
If NBA players coaching in Asia doesn’t tickle your fancy then Andre Iguodala promoting Slamball in China should.
And then there was an Adidas event mixed in with a movie shoot that saw Dwight Howard trying to speak Chinese.
Other NBA talents in Asia during the month of June are: James Harden of the Houston Rockets (China, Taiwan, Philippines), Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans (China), Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors (China), Paul George of the Indiana Pacers (China), Quincy Pondexter of the Memphis Grizzlies (Singapore) and Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns (China).
RIP, Jacky Ng Kiat Kee, 25 years young.
They say a jumpshot can’t kill you but on July 28th 2013 Jacky Ng Kiat Kee of Malaysia’s national team took a jump-shot, asked to be subbed out only to collapse right in front of the team’s bench during an exhibition game in China.
Basketball Buddha reported the story here.
Fédération Internationale de Basket-ball Amateur – The 2013 FIBA Asia Tournament
The 2013 FIBA Asia Tournament was as thrilling and unpredictable as it sounds.
The top three highlights were:
The final four Asian nations were set, the story is here.
Hamed Haddadi is an Asian beast (in case you didn’t know Iran was a part of Asia).
South Korea, Philippines and Iran will all be in Spain during summer of 2014 competing for the FIBA World Cup and a chance to qualify for the upcoming summer olympics.
Basketball’s very own ‘Thrilla in Manila’!
In the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA), Marvin Hayes of GlobalPort and Marqus Blakely of San Mig Coffee go toe-to-toe in an old fashion slugfest.
NBA hardwood lands in Asia
There is a first time for everything. This year, it was the first time the NBA held a pre-season game in the Philippines. The event brought 16,000 fans to the sold out Mall of Asia arena.
Jeremy Lin was the main focus for Asian NBA fans (and Asian media) as the hardwood would shift over to Taipai, Taiwan where the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers played their second game of an Asia back-to-back.
Finally it was China’s turn to have their annual ‘Beijing/Shanghai’ pre-season matches. This year, the Kobeless Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors were in the mainland to put on a show for the fans.
Little known NBA fact; how does an NBA player stay game ready after travelling 15 times zones and more than 12,000 miles.
“A lot of coffee, caffeine and sleeping pills,” says Warriors center Andrew Bogut.
MUST SEE – Swaggy P in China.
Down goes Starbury
Chinese Basketball Association superstar and former NBA all-star Stephon Marbury goes down with a knee injury and is forced to fly back to New York for surgery.
Marbury is replaced by NBA veteran (and nephew an NBA legend simply known as Nique) Damian Wilkins.
In Marbury’s absence, the Ducks have been able to maintain a top three rank in the standings.
Should have taken a three
On December 27th, 2013, in a double-overtime thriller; Bobby Brown of the Dongguan Leopards put up 74-points and hit the game winner on a running floater (had he pulled up for three, he would have tied the 75-point record set earlier this year).
Oh yeah, and four players were ejected from this game as a fight broke out on the floor.
Happy New Years!