Yao Ming vows to support China basketball players after online abuse | Inquirer Sports

Yao Ming vows to support China basketball players after online abuse

/ 12:27 PM November 24, 2023

Yao Ming, president of the Chinese Basketball Association, reacts in the Basketball - Men's Semi-final match between Philippines and China on day 11 of the 19th Asian Games at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium on October 4, 2023

Yao Ming, president of the Chinese Basketball Association, reacts during the Asian Games Men’s basketball Semi-final match between Gilas Pilipinas and China. (Photo by VCG/VCG )No Use China.

Chinese basketball great Yao Ming says that criticism of the men’s national team has gone too far after some players were abused online following a series of disappointing results.

Basketball is hugely popular in China, but the team has consistently failed to live up to high expectations, with the latest letdown a loss to the Gilas Pilipinas in the semi-finals of the Asian Games on home soil last month.

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China beat Taiwan to win bronze but the campaign was regarded as a failure and came weeks after they finished 29th of 32 teams at the World Cup, missing out on next year’s Paris Olympics.

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Fan anger has failed to dissipate, and national players have been targeted online in recent weeks, including Zhang Zhenlin of Liaoning Flying Leopards.

“Here I represent the association to make a statement,” Yao, an eight-time NBA All-Star and now president of the Chinese Basketball Association, said Thursday at a Chinese basketball Hall of Fame event in Beijing.

“No matter if we play well or badly on the basketball court, we will face up to the result,” state media quoted him as saying.

“Some criticism on technique and tactics is welcome, but some things have gone beyond basketball and we don’t agree with that.

“We will always support our players to defend their rights and interests, and in this regard (online abuse), we will provide all the necessary support.”

Following the 77-76 defeat to the Philippines — who went on to win Asian Games gold in Hangzhou — fed-up Chinese fans piled in online to berate and mock their team.

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“Watching you play basketball is a form of pain, isn’t it?” one popular meme asked.

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The 43-year-old Yao had labeled the China players “slackers” and warned there was a “huge gap” between them and the world’s best teams.

TAGS: China, Yao Ming

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