The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) tournament officially restarted on June 20 after a long suspension since January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through rounds of negotiation and consultation, the top-level Chinese professional league was able to resume its games in two Chinese cities without fans in the arenas.
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The CBA was officially suspended on Jan. 24 after the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
Uncertainties and league lockdowns have caused significant changes to many CBA teams. Prior to the league resuming in June, many teams found their foreign players banned from returning to China due to travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs since March. As a result, prior to June 20, 11 CBA teams will play without any foreign players in the June competitions.
For the former CBA champion Beijing Ducks, they are one of the few fortunate teams that still have two foreign players with previous experience in the NBA (Jeremy Lin and Ekpe Udoh) on their rosters.
While Ekpe Udoh was not able to suit up for Beijing in its first game after the CBA restart against the Liaoning Flying Leopards, Jeremy Lin stepped up as one of the key players who helped Beijing secure a victory against the former CBA championship team that chose not to play with any foreign players. Beijing defeated Liaoning with a final score of 91-82. While Jeremy Lin only made three field goals with 13 shot attempts, the former NBA player contributed 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in Beijing’s win. Five other players from the Beijing team also scored double digits.
Lin averaged 24.2 points and 5.8 assists in the first 30 games this season.
“The most important thing is we can play again,” Lin said. “I’m grateful for CBA’s efforts to give us a chance to play again.”
Losing their former top scorer Lance Stephenson because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Liaoning Flying Leopards decided to play without any foreign players despite signing O.J. Mayo prior to the restart of the CBA tournament. The CBA League states that teams with foreign players playing against a team with only Chinese players can only send foreign players to the court four times in the entire four-period game.