CHINA - Chinese basketball has found itself in hot water after a humiliating loss by the national team at the recent Asian Championship in Manila and reports about management chaos.
The situation is reminding fans of the disgraceful scene in Chinese football.
Vowing to defend its title in Asia, the national squad ended up with its worst result since 1975, finishing fifth and conceding an unexpected defeat to Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals. The game's shrinking talent pool - a result of poor grassroots development - should take the blame, said former NBA all star Yao Ming.
"School basketball and professional basketball are two parallel lines in our country," Yao told China Daily at a recent charity programme. "Relying only on resources in the closed State-run system, we can't produce enough talented players at the bottom."
According to the International Basketball Federation, the United States has almost 25 million registered basketball players.
In comparison, China has only 1,000 in national and youth teams registered with the Chinese Basketball Association.
Young people aged 14 to 17 in the US get to play more than 100 organised amateur games a year, while those of the same age in China only get to play 20.
Although youngsters dribbling basketballs are seen everywhere in China, that doesn't necessarily translate into reserves of talent.