Veteran Wang leads all-star roster
Updated: 2011-03-02 07:49
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
BEIJING - Three-time Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (MVP) Wang Zhizhi will lead a glittering collection of hoop stars at the 2011 CBA All-Star Weekend from March 18-20.
To warm up for the all-star carnival, which will take place at the MasterCard Center, the CBA and its marketing operations partner, Infront China, held a press conference on Monday to unveil the starting lineups and a series of new arrangements for the gala event.
After a seven-week ballot, which attracted 4,484,370 valid votes, Bayi Rockets center Wang topped the polls with 209,632 votes and will lead the South team in his fifth consecutive appearance after returning to the domestic league from the NBA in 2005.
Alongside Wang in the starting lineup will be his teammate and forward Mo Ke, second-time all-star starter Dongguan Leopards' forward Zhang Kai, Guangdong Southern Tigers' swingman Wang Shipeng, who shot 10 3-pointers to seal the all-star MVP crown four years ago, and Foshan Longlions' former NBA guard Stephon Marbury, who was last year's all-star MVP as he led the North over the South, 133-121.
On the North team, Xinjiang Flying Tigers' guard Zhang Qingpeng, who won 199,924 votes - second only to Wang, set the pace. He will be joined by teammate Mengke Bateer, the former national team center who will make a record 14th appearance at the event, Liaoning Panpan's rebound machine, Li Xiaoxu, Xinjiang's swingman Quincy Douby and Tianjin Ronggang's low-profile shooting guard Zhang Nan.
Liu Xiaonong, vice-president of the CBA, said the vote was closely monitored by the league's competitions department since its launch on Jan 10 and the result was an "objective one which represents all the fans' will."
Apart from the usual preliminaries to the All-Star Game, which include the 3-point shootout, skills challenge and slam dunk contest, the league has added a few new innovations this year.
The nation's elite street-ball stars will hit the stadium to slug it out in a 5-on-5 Harlem-style battle and they will also provide fans with a free slum dunk show during the weekend.
Meanwhile, each all-star player will invite a special guest to accompany him when he is announced before the big game.
"The guest might be an important person for the player, maybe a parent, mentor or even a girlfriend. It definitely will be a touching moment," said Bai Xilin, director of the CBA's competitions department.
In order to draw more attention, the 3-point, skills and slum dunk contests' preliminaries will be moved to halftime of the Budding Stars Challenge, the association's rookie game.
The CBA sees the All-Star Weekend as an ideal opportunity to push its social programs and charities.
The league has also joined its main sponsor, Anta, and the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF) to select the Most Compassionate Player (MCP). Each 3-pointer and dunk during the All-Star Game will see Anta donate $457 and a buzzer beater will deliver $1,522. Whoever 'earns' the highest amount will be the MCP.
All the money raised during the game will got to support children in some of the country's poorer rural areas. Six children, who have already benefited from the CYDF program, will stand beside the stars during the flagraising ceremony before the game.
This year's All-Star Weekend has drawn 20 sponsors - the most in its history. Infront China, which runs the event's marketing operations, said it is confident of balancing the books this time.
"Last year, we finished with a loss of $152,200. Now, we are confident of filling that hole and even make a profit," said Ma Guoli, chief executive of Infront China.
(China Daily 03/02/2011 page24)
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