Legendary Chinese army basketball team quits

SHANGHAI (AFP) – A historic Chinese basketball team founded in 1955 by members of the People’s Liberation Army has pulled out of the men’s and women’s leagues, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) said yesterday.

The CBA did not say why, but the Bayi Rockets men finished bottom last season in the CBA and failed to show up for their season-opener on Sunday.

They consequently forfeited the match to the Beijing Ducks 20-0 and on Monday told the CBA they were quitting the professional basketball leagues.

The Rockets, who are based in the city of Nanchang, are one of the most successful teams in Chinese basketball history. Before the CBA, they were long-time national heavyweights.

They then joined the CBA league in its first season in 1995 and dominated, winning eight championships early on. But the team’s fortunes have since plummeted and the Rockets are now most notable for refusing to hire foreign players.

In last season’s CBA, which took an enforced five-month break because of the coronavirus, the Rockets were last of the 20 teams and won only six of their 46 matches.