Friday, August 18, 2006

World Champs

In few hours the Basketball World Championships will begin in Japan. I know, being Italian, I am extremely happy Italy won the Football World Cup last month, but this is the event I was waiting for, this summer. I will follow closely as many games as I can, as they will all have interesting features. The field is as strong as it gets, with Olympic Champs Argentina, Serbia, NBA-starred USA, Spain, Brazil, France, and European Champs Greece leading the pack with Olympic silver Italy, Turkey, Germany, Lithuania and Slovenia a step or two behind, then who?

The only representatives of the Far East are host Japan, and China. Neither is expected to impress, for different reasons.

Japan plays its first game against Germany in Hiroshima, and they have little to no chance to get anywhere near a medal in a couple of weeks from now. The team is made up by relatively unknown players to most international audience, as all its players star in the Japanese league only. Yuta Tabuse, who played College basketball in USA and tried with little luck to make the roster with the Phoenix Suns, won't be sporting the colors of the rising sun. Watch out anyway for them to give their absolute best, as Asians take always at heart a good performance in front of home crowd, it's a question of pride for them. But despite this, they lack size (they have the shortest team average height at 6-4 or 194 cm) and they lack international experience.

China will begin its tournament few hours later against my Italy in Sapporo. Their chances to fare relatively well at these championships pass through Yao Ming. The Houston Rockets' center is still recovering from a broken foot, but hopefully he will regain his best shape as the tournament gets to the knock-out stage. With him patrolling the paint, China will be a tough team to beat. The roster includes Wang Zhi Zhi, who played few years in the NBA, Sun Yue, who plays for an ABA team in the USA, and especially Yi Jian Lian, the 18 years old 6-11 forward with an expected bright future in the NBA. Something that comes clear as you look at China's roster is the young average age, only 23 years, and their size, the highest team average height at 6-9 or 205 cm.

I think Sky Italy or RAI will allow me to follow throughly these Campionships, but nothing compares to Asia when it comes to televise basketball. Have you ever noticed? Especially in China there are always a couple of NBA games on tv, at any given day during the season, plus the local Championship. Same goes for Taiwan, although they love baseball over there (the nation's hero is Wang Chien Ming, a Taiwanese sophmore for the NY Yankees), the amount of basketball televised by the Taiwanese televisions is absolutely amazing.
And did you know, Taiwan finished an incredible 4th place at the 1959 World Camphionships held in Chile, the second best result by an Asian team, only topped by the Philippines bronze medal in 1954 in Brazil. But since then, Asian teams have floundered. And it doesn't look the right year to turn things around. Not yet.

Check out for more info!

For now, enjoy the show and... sayounara!

I love this game!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Monday, August 21, 2006  

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