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Yao Ming Says Chinese Basketball Could Resume in July, NBA Re-Opening Strategy Still Unclear

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According to Yao Ming, chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association, the CBA may be on track to resume domestic basketball as early as July. 

The former Houston Rockets star told CCTV on Friday that they were considering three plans of action to reopen the league: resume as usual, cut the season short, or go straight to the finals based on pre-pandemic scores.

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Yao said in the video interview that “[The CBA] is closely monitoring the situation to see which plan is best. But we are confident that there is a good chance of reopening the league.”

Yao also said that following the country’s anti-pandemic regulations was still his top priority. Any foreign players entering the country will be required to go through the standard 14-day quarantine period, and train alone for three additional days. Foreign passport holders were banned from entering the country in late March.


The CBA has been on an indefinite hiatus since February 1st. An initial restart date was set for mid-April, but worsening pandemic conditions in March led to government approval being denied.

This announcement comes at the same time as NBA commissioner Adam Silver is making important deliberations about when to resume the American basketball season. Many plans have been reported, including one in which players and their families would stay in an isolated “bubble.” However, none have been confirmed.

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Other Chinese sports leagues are gunning for an even earlier start. The Chinese Super League (CSL), the highest tier of professional football in China, has declared a June restart and a “Three Nos” policy of “no empty stadiums, no extending the league into 2021 and no reduced season.” The 2020 season, which was due to start in February, has already been delayed multiple times.

Their convoluted plan proposes a shortened season that will end in November, and a two-group stage competition split into “championship” and “relegation” tournaments. Their plan is still pending approval from the state, but it is unknown whether the government will be receptive to this hasty step forward.

Allison Jiang
    Allison Jiang is a Baltimore-based writer interested in the intersection of art and culture. She is passionate about big dogs, social justice, and stand-up comedy, among other things.