Local Hero Yao Ming to Anchor Team China Against Euroleague Basketball Teams
The CBA - Euroleague Challenge 2007 is the first event of its kind in China and one of the biggest such basketball showcases in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The event brings together teams from four countries on three continents for a pair of double-headers on September 30 and October 1.
Euroleague runner-up CSKA Moscow will take on the Sydney Kings of Australia in the tournament's first game on Sunday, September 30, to be followed by Team China vs. Benetton Treviso. The next day, Monday, October 1, it's Benetton against Sydney and Team China vs. CSKA. All games of the CBA - Euroleague Challenge 2007 will be played in Kunshan in the modern complex "Kunshan New Stadium" with a capacity of 6,000 spectators.
Yao Ming, 26 years old and 2.29 meters tall, is an NBA All-Star with the Houston Rockets and the anchor of the Chinese national team at centre. His participation in the CBA - Euroleague Challenge 2007 marks one of the few times his countrymen will get a chance to see Yao play at home prior to the Olympics. Team China has been the Asian Champion 14 out of 17 times since 1975, including last year's victory at the 2006 event in Doha. Yao Ming led Team China to an eighth-place finish at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Coached by former Euroleague Champion Jonas Kazlauzkas, Team China is currently ranked 11th in the FIBA World Ranking.
The CBA - Euroleague Challenge 2007 is the highlight of a partnership agreement between Euroleague Basketball, the Chinese Basketball Association and Infront Sports & Media, CBA's exclusive global marketing partner. It contemplates tournaments, clinics and related activities meant to build a relationship that enhances the growth of basketball worldwide. A team representing the CBA participated in the ULEB Summer League in Treviso, Italy last June and July in the first such exchange between the competitions.