Chinese basketball season resumes, Uzi retires

Society & Culture

The NBA has a concrete plan to resume its season, and now it looks like the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) does as well. While the NBA has targeted July 31 as a restart date for 22 of its 30 teams, the CBA is planning to have all of its 20 teams resume play on June 20. Jiǎn Zìháo 简自豪, better known by his online name Uzi, is one of China's most famous League of Legends (LoL) players. He announced his retirement via Weibo and Twitter to his fans, citing injuries and diabetes.

CBA president Yáo Míng 姚明 announced that Chinese professional basketball is back, starting June 20.

The China Sports Column is a SupChina weekly feature. 


The NBA has a concrete plan to resume its season, and now it looks like the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) does as well.

While the NBA has targeted July 31 as a restart date for 22 of its 30 teams, the CBA is planning to have every one of its 20 teams resume play on June 20.

“Many people have done lots of work to make this happen,” CBA president Yáo Míng 姚明 told Xinhua on Thursday. “Our job at the moment is to carry out our plan, which will require everyone’s effort.”

Most teams had played 30 of the scheduled 46 games before the league was suspended on February 1. The suspension of the league caused many of the foreign stars to return home to their countries, but when China suddenly closed its borders to non-Chinese at the end of March, many of these international stars were left stranded outside.

In response, the CBA has been forced to change the rules around how long each foreign star can play per game.

Teams with two international players on their side against a team with just one will be forced to restrict the playing time of their foreign players to only a combined five quarters (down from six quarters). A team with two foreigners playing a full Chinese side will be forced to limit the appearance of those international stars to a total of four combined quarters.

The teams are set to play all their remaining games in Dongguan and Qingdao behind closed doors.

The CBA is the first major sports league to announce a resumption date, with the Chinese Super League — China’s top domestic soccer league — characteristically lagging behind.

Chinese gaming icon Uzi retires at 23

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Chinese gamer Uzi became the first esports player to get an endorsement from Nike in 2018.

 

Perhaps China’s biggest sports star you’ve never heard of has retired at the tender age of 23.

Jiǎn Zìháo 简自豪, better known by his online name Uzi, is one of China’s most famous League of Legends (LoL) players. He announced his retirement via Weibo and Twitter to his fans, citing injuries and diabetes.

“Last year during a physical examination, I found out I had type-2 diabetes, caused by perennial stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons,” the 23-year-old said on Weibo.

He was more pithy on Twitter, simply saying: “Uzi out (‘-‘)7.”

The ADC (Attack Damage Carry) role — the person who carries out consistent, high-damage attacks — was Uzi’s specialty during his time with the team Royal Never Give Up. He was considered the best in that position.

Uzi gained fame in the LoL world when he became the first player to reach consecutive finals in the LoL World Finals. In 2018, the Chinese star was named the best player in the world.

Despite never winning the big World Championship prize, Uzi was part of the Chinese team that won gold in the Asian Games in 2018.

While Uzi certainly did not build the LoL phenomenon in China, he did ride the wave of popularity to the very top of the sport.

His team, Royal Never Give Up, described him as an icon of the sport and the “heart and soul” of the team. While South Korean rivals, and winners of three LoL World Championships, T1 called him “one of the greatest legends ever.”

Ighalo agrees last-minute loan extension with Manchester United

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Odion Ighalo is contracted to Shanghai Shenhua, but will continue to play for Manchester United.

Contrary to reports last week, Nigerian international striker Odion Ighalo has extended his loan with Manchester United.

Ighalo, who is currently contracted to CSL club Shanghai Shenhua, had been expected to end his loan at United after United and Shenhua could not agree to an extension. However, Manchester United announced the extension on June 1. The Premier League season is scheduled to restart on June 10.

Ighalo will now remain in the UK until January 31 with the club he had supported since he was a child.

Initially signing on a half-season loan for the Red Devils, Ighalo was impressive in England, scoring four goals in eight games while replacing the injured Marcus Rashford.

In addition to the loan extension, Ighalo also penned a new four-year contract extension with Shenhua. The forward’s new contract will see him earn around half a million dollars per week.