甜甜圈’s slogan is “Basketball with Chinese characteristics.”

周四晚上在北京,它为整个世界带来了丑陋的脸,看看乔治城霍亚斯和八王火箭队何时参与其中massbench-clearing brawlmidway through the fourth quarter of their exhibition game.

The big question of course is, why did this happen? It’s a question that cannot be answered simply — there is a lot that needs to be understood both about Chinese mentality, specifically towards foreigners, as well as the general Chinese on-court playing style and officiating. And then we need to put Georgetown into the equation, too.

To make it easier and more organized, we’ve posed general questions that we’ve received over the last few days and answered them in a way that will up to the million dollar of question of, how and why did this happen? First, let’s start with something easy:



Who are the Bayi Rockets?

Like we said, the Rockets are a professional basketball team in the Chinese Basketball Association. They are unlike any of the league’s other 16 teams because they represent the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), China’s military. Though they are far from gun-wielding, battlefield-charging soldiers, players are technically registered as such. Because of their affiliation with the Chinese military, they are not allowed to have any foreign players on their team.


Because of their storied history and all-Chinese roster, Bayi is arguably the most well-supported team nationally. They are lauded for their “Bayi spirit,” which, means as explained by veteran reporter for Basketball news China, Lin Kunyi,在纽约时报, “…you are tough, you eat bitterness and you don’t leave the court even if injured.” They are obviously a bunch that are very proud to be PLA and Chinese; important to keep in mind as we keep going.

Their most famous player is Wang Zhizhi, who became the first Chinese player to ever be drafted into the NBA when he was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in 1999, has spent his entire career with Bayi and still plays with the team today at the age of 32 (or whatever his real age is). Wang was not playing during the Georgetown game, however, because he is currently with the Chinese National Team in London.

Do on-court fights like this happen often in Chinese basketball?

They don’t happen infrequently. Both professional basketball and the Chinese Men’s National Team have been involved in a number of on-court fights the last few years. In October 2010, Team China got into a similarlynasty bench-clearing brawl在亚运会的热身展览比赛中反对巴西俱乐部队。2005年,该团队从事了intense full-team fight在FIBA Stankovic Cup期间在比赛的闭幕时间内遇到困难后,抵御波多黎各。2001年,中国和黎巴嫩也有一个重大斗争。

Professional basketball in China has also been marred by several on-court incidents. In 2009, Xinjiang Guanghui’s American forward, Charles Gaines, slapped Guangdong Hongyuan’s Du Fengthe eff outduring Game 2 of the CBA Finals. In 2008, Yunnan Bulls American forward, Gabe Muoneke,was attacked outside the locker room在他们的比赛结束后,上海鲨鱼的几名成员,包括国家队长,刘伟,这是一个与另一个上海球员的庭院争吵。本赛季在全国篮球联赛中,中国第二层专业联赛在夏季发挥了阵容,在广州FM的美国卫兵中看到了一个特别令人讨厌的事件,threw a chair into the standsat fan after the fan reigned bottles at his courtside girlfriend during an on-court scuffle between the team’s other American import, Jartavious Henderson and a Chinese opponent.

Georgetown – Bayi was not an isolated incident.

Why have of these incidents involved either foreign teams or foreign players?

This is where the stone-cold facts end and opinion begins. Our opinion may be different than other people’s. But, since we’ve been living in China for over three and a half years (and naturally, playing and watching a lot of basketball, too), we think we’re entitled to have one.

Really, there’s two areas to really dive into here — the culture of Chinese basketball, and China’s history, government and other influences that shape that on-court culture. First, let’s get into the latter of the two, which in our opinion is key towards understanding the underlying beliefs and attitudes that may have shaped this particular incident.

From mid-19th century until 1949, when Mao Zedong founded the modern day People’s Republic of China and expelled every foreigner in sight, China suffered through what historians have dubbed “The Century of Humiliation,” the period of about one hundred years when the country was subjected to Japanese and Western imperialism. The effects of this period can still be felt today. The Century of Humiliation serves as the root of Chinese nationalism today, and it is something the Chinese Communist Party focuses heavily on to maintain support and stability within its borders. According toLiu Kang, a professor of Chinese cultural studies at Duke University, nationalism has probably “becomethe most powerful legitimating ideology” for the CCP post-1978, when Deng Xiaping re-opened China to the outside world.

As a result of the CCP’s reliance on nationalism to create Chinese unity, there exists a level of anger towards Western countries stemmed from a belief amongst some Chinese that China and its people are still stereotyped as weak and passive. To combat that thought, China must stand up to foreigners to reflect the strong and modern country it has become today.

中国需要表达其实力和对外世界能力的态度在篮球场特别普遍。也许部分原因可以通过教育中国运动员接受来解释。撰写CBA人口的所有国内玩家以及中国国家队的产品也是中国国有运动系统的产品。通常在11-14岁的年龄录取篮球院校,孩子们在篮球的几个小时后拿出小时,小时候数小时的几个小时。请记住:这些是政府运行学校,由于球员正在被安置,穿着,喂养,培训和培训和支付的国家,球员预计将感谢筹集他们的系统并通过在法庭上获胜来带来荣耀。Since national pride is built upon China’s history of being humiliated at the hands of foreigners, there is an especially large feeling amongst players when they play against foreign teams that they need to do anything they can to shed those Western stereotypes that label them as soft and passive.

Maybe it’s valid — when Yao Ming entered the league in 2002, a number of high-profile members of the media predicted thathe’d bea bust当易建利安在前几个月锻炼的球队队伍上,达到2007年的NBA,他被称为“愿董事长”by an especially influential member of the media. Maybe everyone had their own reasons — Yao was definitely a big unknown coming into the Draft and Yi probably deserved to be called out for not playing against other prospects — but, in China, many felt the two were being labeled negatively by Western press strictly because the two were Chinese.

So if you are an international team coming to China to play either against a college team, a professional team or the National Team, you need to know that the Chinese feel they have a huge foreign-placed chip on their shoulder, and they’re going to play extra hard as a result.

And, as we’ve seen in many situations, throw fists too, if they feel that’s what it takes to prove themselves.



Why do these fights happen, then?

This is where the on-court culture of Chinese basketball kicks in. The Chinese play a very physical brand of basketball. One reason why, as Sarah Kogod over at NBC Washington writes, is because some influential people in China, none bigger than big Yao himself, felt that the “non-contact style prevalent in the China Basketball Association was producing players whowere not tough enough for the international game.” The result: An edict from the CBA to referees instructing them to essentially swallow their whistles and let teams destroy each other.

As one can imagine, the Chinese game has become a lot more physical, especially on the inside where body-contact is a staple. Four-year NBA vet, James Singleton, who played this last season with Xinjiang Guanghui, a dude known for being extremely physical down low, thought he was“gonna end up killing somebody”一旦训练营开始后他经历了couple of practices with the team’s uber-physical big men. But as James and everyone figures out quickly when they start here, it’s not personal towards foreigners. That’s just the way they play.

But, when Chinese teams play against foreign teams — teams they feel they have to stand up extra tall to — they play a lot harder, which means they play a lot more physical. And in Bayi’s case, a CBA team that doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to play against foreign opponents in their home country, the desire to really give it their all against Georgetown maybe would have been greater than say, the National Team, who plays in international competitions all the time.

Yeah, but American teams play physical, too! Georgetown plays in the Big East, arguably the toughest conference in the country!


In the Big East, if you two-arm chuck somebody in the chest, you are going to be whistled for a foul. Same thing if you two-arm bear hug someone from behind on a rebound. Ditto for elbowing a dude in the chest. Etc, etc. In China, a lot of that isn’t called by design. So it’s very easy for foreign players to get really frustrated really quickly.

Well, fine. So the refs let them play here. But, come on — a 57 to 15 foul discrepancy? They’re only letting the Chinese play!


Plus, Chinese refs just aren’t very good to begin with. And it’s not just in international competition, but also in the CBA too. Chinese referees have a reputation for being poorly trained, under-qualified and corrupt, a toxic combination for anybody with a whistle hanging from their neck. Though they’ve never admitted corruption, the CBA readily admits ithas a problem with the quality of officiating. To combat the problem, the league has hired foreign referees in recent years to stand in during the semi-finals and finals. It doesn’t solve the overall problem, however, since nothing is being done to train and develop high quality officials.

So why did things escalate into a bench-clearing, chair-throwing brawl? Don’t refs have any control over games?

They should have more control over games, but they don’t. In my opinion, the referees were the number one reason why this went down. On one end, you have Bayi playing what they think is globally accepted basketball, which in fact, by absolutely physically destroying Georgetown, they’re playing what many countries would label very dirty basketball.

On the other end, you have Georgetown, who is getting more and more frustrated until their emotions turn into anger by the fourth quarter. The Hoyas are a big-time NCAA program, a Big East team nonetheless — they’re not going to back down. And as Georgetown ups the intensity, so does Bayi, who feels that Georgetown is thinking these soft Chinese will just crack as the game gets tougher. So both teams are getting angrier and angrier with each other. And with no refs stepping in the middle to tide all of this rage building up, you get a very explosive situation.


Instead, what happened by the fourth quarter was an understandably angry Jason Clark taking exception to what in essence was an attempted football tackle in the backcourt by Bayi center, Hu Ke. And after that —混乱.


It’s not surprising to me that Bayi went all-in they way they did. The same thing happened last year in the Team China – Brazilian club team fight. In the States, when you step to someone, there is typically a moment where the players involved ask themselves: “Do I really want to do this?” Most of the time, the answer is no. There’s a lot to lose by fighting, like a suspension, a fine or both and not a whole lot to gain beyond maybe “proving” yourself as a man or a woman. Which in the end doesn’t really matter if you’re suspended or kicked off the team altogether.

然而,当它是中国与世界的时候,在汉语的眼中,通过从战斗中抵消,就会失去一切。逃离身体对抗使球员成为球员as Chineseappear weak. That’s a stereotype they’re trying to disprove, remember?

So when the two stepped to each other, Bayi took that as their time to step up and fight. And when they fight, Chinese tend to have a nasty habit of ganging up guys and throwing chairs.


欢迎来到中国安全世界。被称为bao an’s,中国保安人员只不过是商城警察。他们都在中国 - 他们卫队的公寓楼,学校入口,办公楼,停车场以及其他人认为需要守卫。他们几乎没有培训如何实际保持其安全性。我根本不感到惊讶,他们没有参与其中。

As for the fans, bottle throwing is very typical behavior in these types of situations. So typical in fact, that the CBA has banned the in-stadium sale of concessions to prevent fans from hurling things at the court during fights or when they’re unsatisfied with corrupt officiating.

Is there anything that could have been done to prevent this?

In my mind, the blame mainly lies with the in-game officials. It was their job to manage and control this very emotionally volatile game, and they didn’t.

But I also have another opinion that may differ from a lot of other people’s. And it may be one that people disagree with.

Georgetown在善意之旅中来到中国。我相信他们不期待中国对手的强烈篮球比赛。对于访问外国队来说,篮球真正喜欢的篮球真正腐败,真正腐败了how to use chopsticksand being briefed by the U.S. State Department on what it means to represent the United States abroad. They had no idea what they were getting into.

They also, as Gabe Muoneke explains in his amazing,must-read post on HoopsHype(I’m serious, read it) about the Liu Wei/Shanghai Sharks post-game fight we mentioned earlier, gave Bayi reason.

Look, I know what happened. I know the refereeing sucked. I know they were being cheated. I know they were being punked. And I know that they were essentially being physically manhandled. But, the thing is — this is what happens here. They should have known a bit better. And as much as I can understand Clark’s exception to being nearly run over, he should not have stepped to dude like he was going to fight him. Because you know what? That is valid grounds in China to fight. That’s a reason. At the end of the day, its a stupid exhibition match whose final result means nothing in the grand scheme of Georgetown basketball. You play the game, you do your best to suck it up and get through it, and you go home safely.

Because China isn’t America. And Chinese basketball isn’t American basketball. Next time a team comes here, be it professional, college or international, I hope someone properly explains what “Basketball with Chinese characteristics” really means.

yabo体育赞助欧洲杯jon pastuszek可以在Twitter上遵循@NiuBBallor on Sina Weibo@NiuBBall



15 Responses to “Why did Georgetown and Bayi fight?”

  1. lt_xiacaing.说:

    Very good and deep analysis! But that’s the way the Chinese basketball play right now. Since 1949, the education system of China has become a nationalism-oriented teaching institute. Everything is around how we can build our nation to protect alien invade, cuz we cant afford another 100 yrs being a loser. Dude, it’s true, look at the world now. It is being globalized and more competitions in different aspects are involved.

    However, being a Chinese, I guarantee you that Chinese players never want to play dirty but tough, but they may be wrongly taught. Lots of Chinese like watching NBA and we hope one day our CBA could be pretty much a Chinese NBA. As you know, the NBA games are more and more intense, meaning more body contacts are allowed. So, I guess our league just wants to move closer to NBA from this aspect. However, as you’ve already said, our offciating system never wants to even look closer to its counterpart in NBA. Hence, being physically tough (without restriction, unlike NBA) is treated as a brave on-court characteristic (or more NBA-like behavior). Hence, unless all our refs (the entire ref system) can be separately educated, it is hard to say we could see a more clear court here in the next few yrs.


  2. 王老虎说:

    Great article, thanks for posting. Chinese people never want to lose face, especially in a sport they take great pride in playing. You should do like a basketball orientation for D1 teams or import players coming into China to let ’em know what’s up.


    • James Park说:

      Let them know that Chinese people are literally trash? How about the fans coming in to fight the college kids? Have some dignity. Never mind, I forgot you guys were Chinese.. Carry on…


  3. Turner说:

    Great Article. I disagree with your conclusion, but you are entitled to your opinion. One thing though which I’m sure is just a typo, the game took place in Beijing not Shanghai.

    I wish there was video of the whole game because it is difficult to assign blame for who started the fight when you only see 2 minutes of the game, and none of the actual game action.



  4. bcheng说:

    Is it just me or was this not the actual Bayi squad, instead a youth team or something? The uniforms were generic nike ones, not what the side usually wears and I didn’t recognize any of the players, though I didn’t see that many pictures (and probably would only recognize two or three at most).


  5. 乔纳森说:





  6. El Diablo Negro说:

    I have watched a bit of Chinese basketball lately (Australia v China in China, China v Duke etc.) and am becoming increasingly unimpressed with where there basketball is headed.

    As an Australian the one positive I can say about the Aussie national team is that they play hard, but they are fair and are not looking to start fights. Chinese players are physical, but not at the right times. Why grab and hold the guy bringing up the ball? international competition it will be called every time, do your best work away from the ball, be physical but not stupid.

    Further, in the Duke game the Chinese players were complaining about every single call, what is that about? There is too much ‘street basketball’ creeping into international competition, where posing and abusing the opposition is common place (I call this black basketball). Its not good enough that you just got a nice dunk, you have to get in someones face about it!



  7. yabo体育赞助欧洲杯说:

    @bcheng你是对的,很多高级团队没有玩. Wang Zhizhi and Zhang Bo are with the Senior National team, and a lot of the other players like Han Shuo didn’t play either. That also had a lot to do with it — these were young players with very little experience playing against foreign teams.


  8. ZHG说:

    yo, what if a Chinese guy went over to the US for three years, and started reading how blacks endured four centuries of humiliation as slaves for white Americans, and then turned around and came up with an explanation for the Georgetown-Bayi fight, writing in Chinese on a blog, to a Chinese audience of ballers, saying what happened here was that Georgetown had a chip on their shoulder because black Americans generally have this extra burden of history on their shoulders, so in the 21st century, they need to play in-your-face, ghetto-style ball to prove they aren’t as weak as the world might have expected from ex-slaves ?



  9. Jerry说:

    good argument ZHG. both sides have some valid points.


  10. thebai.说:


    I don’t know how you can reach any other conclusion after watching the video. Shameful.


  11. thebai.说:

    “在我看来,责任主要在于in-game officials. It was their job to manage and control this very emotionally volatile game, and they didn’t.”

    In part yes, but I would argue the main responsibility lies in individuals conducting themselves in an honorable way.


  12. 库尔特说:

    嗯……ZGH,我不认为乔治城”在你身上r-face ghetto style ball,” in the matter of fact they use the Princeton offense which uses a lot of misdirection, back cuts, crisp passing, and floor balance… Ghetto basketball isn’t about physicality but more about skill and athleticism, but nice try….


  13. Jay K.说:

    After being a fan of this site for such a long time, I finally went back in the archives, and read this. perhaps the best written explanation for the frustrations we expats feel playing ball in beijing.


  14. 说:



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