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Ball Don't Lie

Tracy McGrady and Stephon Marbury are annoyed with the Chinese Basketball Association’s rules and regulations

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Hundreds of adoring fans greet Tracy McGrady's arrival in China last October (Getty Images)

As with any of these reports, the translation has to be considered well before we judge either side of this possible conflagration. Assuming there is one to begin with. Former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady plays in China now, for the Chinese Basketball Association, and he recently called a mandatory test they give each of their players and coaches "nonsense." No other quote is on record, any other opinions behind McGrady's thoughts on the written test are expressed through the unnamed journalist at CRI English. The scribe in question might be fantastic at their craft, but those words were then spun through translation.

Go easy, is what we're saying, as we point out that the CBA has a mandatory 60-question written test that both players and coaches have to work through every year, and that T-Mac recently called it "nonsense." NIUBball.com, a fantastic site, gave us the heads-up and CRI English gave us the details:

China Basketball Association (CBA) superstar Tracy McGrady, or "T-Mac," who plays for the Qingdao Eagles has criticized a CBA rules test for players and coaches as "nonsense," Newspaper.lndaily.com.cn reported Tuesday… McGrady said there is no need for the test as the content is so basic and every CBA player knows how to deal with the questions both on and off the court.

…In response to McGrady, [Bai Xilin, head of the league's competition department] said the CBA has some rules that are different than the National Basketball Association and the International Basketball Federation. He said McGrady should set an example for other players to learn the rules well and it would be helpful for him to play better in the CBA.

One word — "nonsense."

That's it. Could be in reference to breezing pass the test, or the questions behind it, or having to take an hour or two and 60 questions just to make sure of the distinctions between the CBA and NBA. Could mean so many things. One word, "nonsense," and that's it.

And, in McGrady's defense, he's been a professional athlete since 1997 and you can't blame the guy for considering his time in the CBA as slumming — even if CBA fans are going crazy for the former NBA All-Star. And even if, perhaps, he might be lacking in the self-awareness department. It's very possible that the CBA is quite self-aware, and doesn't really want one of their showcase stars to go through his first season in the league completely unaware of whatever rule differences the league might have with its NBA or FIBA counterparts.

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Stephon Marbury (Getty Images)

Especially in light of the news that much-loved CBA legend Stephon Marbury was recently fined for refusing to cover the logo on his Starbury-brand shoes; footwear that flies in the face of the league-sponsored (and Dwyane Wade-endorsed) Li-Ning brand.

From the South China Morning Post:

Marbury, whose Starbury line of basketball shoes is proving a hit in China, said it was "not right" that players were forced to wear footwear made by league sponsor Li-Ning or conceal the logos of competing brands.

"Every player has his right to wear what shoes are right for his feet to protect his body and wellbeing while playing on the court," Marbury said. "It is not right that players can't have a choice to wear what's comfortable while playing at a high level. Safety is first and it's my right."

Marbury, who plays for the Beijing Ducks, was fined US$3,210 for not covering his own 361 Degrees brand on the opening week of the season, but has since complied with the league's rules.

Dude, that's like some sort of Communist nonsense, man.

Oh.

It's a different country, and a different league. And one that pays, when the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons look away.

Is it pretty ridiculous that Tracy McGrady has to take a massive, written test meant to ascertain his familiarity with CBA rules? Probably. Is it nuts that Stephon Marbury has to cover the logo of his moderately priced shoes while playing for a league that just enacted a statue of him? No doubt.

That's where we're at, though, mates. When in Rome China, fill out that test and cover up those logos.

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