Fed-up Chinese basketball fans berated and mocked the men’s national team on Thursday after China’s agonizing 77-76 defeat to Gilas Pilipinas in the Asian Games semi-finals.
The hashtag “Chinese men’s basketball lost twice to the Philippines in 32 days” received 28 million views on Chinese social media site Weibo in the hours following Wednesday night’s loss in Hangzhou.
“Watching you play basketball is a form of pain, isn’t it?” read one popular meme, as the online world in China piled in.
Basketball is hugely popular in the country but the men’s team has consistently failed to meet high expectations, despite former NBA star Yao Ming playing a leading role in the sport.
At the recent Basketball World Cup, China finished bottom of its group and then lost 96-75 to the Philippines in a classification match.
Fans online once again accused the team — who play Taiwan on Friday for bronze — of being spoiled by their high salaries and VIP treatment.
“All you can think about is making money,” one Weibo user wrote. “But you have to do your job well while making money.”
In perhaps the biggest insult of all, another warned the basketball team was in danger of being on a par with the much-derided men’s national football side.
Hu Jie, in a commentary for the state-owned newspaper The Paper, blamed the Chinese team’s lack of familiarity with major international competitions.
“Since the end of the 2019 men’s World Cup, Chinese basketball has noticeably reduced its exchanges with the rest of the world,” Hu wrote, pointing to the Chinese Basketball Association’s shift away from bringing in foreign players as well as COVID-19 travel curbs.
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