It's Guangzhou's turn in the All-Star spotlight
Updated: 2011-12-14 07:58
By Tang Zhe (China Daily)
GUANGZHOU - The 2012 CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) All-Star weekend will be played at Guangzhou International Sports Arena on Feb 18 and 19, with the league's biggest stars again competing in a South versus North format.
The starting fives will be chosen through a fan vote on the league's official website, cbachina.sports.sohu.com, beginning on Dec 19. Fans are allowed to select five players for each team, including no more than two foreigners.
This is the first time the All-Star weekend will be held in Guangzhou, after Infront China announced two years ago it would stage the event in stadiums up to NBA standard - Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou - for six consecutive years.
The first two editions were held at the Beijing MasterCard Center (formerly the Wukesong Arena) in 2010 and 2011.
"CBA has became an influential tournament in China, but compared with NBA, CBA is still at the primary stage," said Ma Guoli, CEO and Managing Director of Infront China.
"When we started to launch the game two years ago, we were aware that the Chinese were capable of doing something like this, but we didn't have enough big platforms.
"We did a pretty good job in Beijing in the past two years, and we will continue to realize our promise this year," Ma said.
"The Guangzhou International Sports Arena successfully hosted the basketball final of the Asian Games last year, which attracted an audience of more than 120 million (on TV). Guangzhou is also a city with basketball tradition. After two years in Beijing, we will do our best to present a basketball carnival for the fans here," Ma said.
Liu Xiaonong, deputy director of the Chinese Basketball Association, said the All-Star weekend will also act as a part of the CBA's "Hope Basketball" plan, in which the association encouraged all CBA clubs to help one primary school build its own basketball team.
"We will invite outstanding students from the schools' basketball teams to the All-Star weekend next year. The children will spend a memorable night with their idols and enjoy the real happiness of basketball," Liu said.
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