Upon returning to China to meet with his team, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, Marshon Brooks received a piece of news that will put his basketball career on pause. The 31-year-old basketball player tested positive for coronavirus, and will likely be forced to sit out for the rest of the remaining Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) playoffs.
It would be a huge loss for the Guangdong Southern Tigers on their quest for a 10th CBA championship title in franchise history. The team has shown dominance in the 2019-2020 CBA season. After defeating the Beijing Ducks in its last regular-season game, the Guangdong Tigers finished its regular season with a 29-game winning streak and a 44-2 record.
Following the initial success of the tournament, the CBA started to allow spectators into the arena. With the first few games dedicated to front line workers and first responders in Qingdao, the league will start to sell game tickets from July 31. In this week’s CBA weekly overview, we will go over the latest developments in the top-level Chinese basketball tournament.
Marshon Brooks Tests Positive for COVID-19
The Guangdong Southern Tigers utilized its resources to bring back its foreign player Marshon Brooks to maximize the team’s chance in the upcoming playoffs. But the former NBA guard may have a difficult time coming back to the team’s squad following an unexpected issue. After returning to China, Marshon Brooks tested positive for COVID-19.
Marshon Brooks joined the Guangdong Southern Tigers in February 2019 and became a key contributor on both ends of the floor. Brooks had an average of 28.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists from the first 28 games he played before the CBA league’s suspension. He played an average of 33 minutes per game and was the team’s leader in points and playing minutes.
Drafted with the 25th overall pick in 2011 by the Boston Celtics, Brooks played for six different NBA teams, averaging 8 points per game in his NBA career. Brooks was also selected to the NBA All-Rookie second team in 2012. Before joining the Guangdong Southern Tigers, Brooks played for the Jiangsu Dragons for three seasons and was selected to the CBA all-star team in 2017.
The CBA suspension in January made several CBA teams lose their foreign players. After Chinese authorities instituted a subsequent travel ban for foreign passport holders and instituted various restrictions for international flights, teams had a difficult time getting their foreign players back into China. Some professional sports team in China, however, found ways to bring back players and coaching staff through chartered flights and special visas. Teams in China’s top-level football league, the Chinese Super League (CSL), used such strategies to pick up their players stranded outside of China because of the pandemic. Seeing the success from teams like Guangzhou Evergrande and Dalian Pro, the Guangdong Southern Tigers also used a chartered plane to bring back Marshon Brooks for the upcoming CBA playoffs.
Chinese media Sohu Sports claimed that before boarding the plane, Brooks tested negative. The American basketball player has no COVID-19 symptoms but continues to have unstable testing results. Marshon Brooks is currently hospitalized in Dongguan. And even if he was cleared by Dongguan health officials to enter Qingdao, Brooks will still need to be in quarantine in Qingdao for 14 days before playing any CBA games.
The CBA playoffs will start on July 31, and the Guangdong Southern Tigers will play its first playoff game on Aug. 2. The CBA finals will conclude no later than Aug. 15. It is highly unlikely for Marshon Brooks to play for Guangdong in the 2020 CBA playoffs.
Guangdong Concludes Regular Season with 29-game Winning Streak
While Marshon Brooks is not likely to join the team in the 2020 CBA playoffs, the Guangdong Southern Tigers are nevertheless the most successful team in the 2019-2020 CBA season.
Following a 101-82 victory against the Beijing Ducks, the Guangdong Southern Tigers concluded its regular season with a 44-2 record and continued their 29-game winning streak.
Guangdong has not lost any games since the league’s return in June. Out of the only two losses in the 2019-2020 season, Guangdong lost to the Jilin Northeast Tigers in November 2019, and the Beijing Royal Fighters in December 2019.
As the regular-season champion, the Guangdong Southern Tigers will receive a bye in the Round of 12 games and directly enter the quarter-finals. Guangdong will play against the winner between the 8th and 9th teams from the round of 12 games. After losing to Guangdong in its final regular-season game, the Beijing Ducks concluded its CBA regular season in 4th place. The two teams will be very likely to meet in the CBA semi-finals.
Xinjiang Flying Tigers and Liaoning Flying Leopards are ranked 2nd and 3rd in the CBA regular season. Both teams will directly enter the quarter-finals, and will likely meet in the CBA semi-finals. Guangdong is likely to play against one of those two teams if it advances to the CBA Finals in 2020.
CBA Starts to Sell Tickets on July 31
Following the initial success of the CBA tournament, league officials announced plans to allow spectators to enter the arena starting July 26. Starting July 31, spectators will be allowed to buy tickets and enter the game arenas for the CBA playoffs.
The CBA became the first professional sports tournament in China to be allowed to sell game tickets. While there are multiple cities in China seeing surges of COVID-19 cases, Qingdao did not experiencing a rise in the number of cases throughout the CBA regular season.
Local Qingdao media Bandao reported that frontline workers, including medical professionals, teachers, and first responders can make appointments to come to the arena for regular-season games. The CBA playoffs, which start July 31, will be open for spectators to purchase game tickets.
To purchase CBA game tickets, spectators must be above the age of 12 and have a valid ID. All individuals who wish to enter the game arenas must present a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the game’s starting time. Game tickets will be tied to the individual’s national identification, and spectators are required to wear masks at all times after entering the arena.
In addition to those measures before purchasing tickets, there will also be on-site body temperature checks and identification checks. Spectators will need to maintain a 1-meter distance from others while sitting in the arena, entering and exiting the arena, and before and after the games.