I’ve often had to explain to friends and colleagues here in the US the importance of the Lunar New Year in Chinese culture. This time of the year in China is the biggest culturally-synchronized movement of people in the world – see Fan Lixin’s documentary Last Train Home.
There also have been a number of stories about the NBA players who decided to go to China to play basketball, when the possibilities of the entire NBA season disappearing was high (see this WSJ article, for example). But now that the NBA season has resumed, there are a number of NBA players in China who would rather go back to the NBA, even though the CBA regular season will be ending soon.
Carolina native and NYT reporter Jim Yardley has an extended article on the NBA and basketball in China in this today’s Sunday Magazine. But what caught my eye was Kenyon Martin’s move described by Yardley in a different article. Martin pulled a fast one to get out of his CBA contract. Instead of petitioning to be released to the NBA, which was specifically negated in his contract, Martin petitioned to FIBA (the international basketball association) to be released from his CBA obligations – and he did it just prior to the start of the Lunar New Year chaos. FIBA granted Martin his release from the CBA contract, which the CBA officials did not counter-petition because everyone was on holiday. The lesson: understand Chinese culture, if you want to succeed in China.