During Thursday night’s Miami Heat/Los Angeles Clippers game which was held at the Mastercard Center in Beijing, China the National Basketball Association made an announcement that the league has plans to construct a new basketball center near Beijing, in the city of Tianjin, along with a partner in the near future.
According to NBA China and the Yatai Lanhai Investment Group the proposed 120,00-square foot basketball center will include multiple NBA-style basketball courts, a restaurant and a fitness center along with several other features. The basketball center will be part of a mixed-use development by Yaitai Lanhai with housing for 150,000.
The NBA and game of of basketball’s popularity in China has spread widely over the past decade following retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming‘s arrival to the Association and this is the main driving factor for the additional attention to the country’s passion for the game.
Since Yao’s rookie season in 2002-03 Chinese residents have gravitated to the game in swarms which is why the league has placed so much focus on developing the game in their country and even allowing them to host exhibition games with NBA teams during the preseason such as the Heat/Clippers game where the announcement was made.
There has also been a boom in the number of NBA players with Chinese backgrounds since Yao’s arrival into the league such as Yi Jianlian and last season’s Cinderella darling of a headliner Jeremy Lin. The number of Chinese NBA players will likely grow even higher following the development of this new mega basketball complex in Tianjin which will not only be a good thing for the Association but the entire world as well.