CBA season resumes after 5 months of delay
Published: Jun 21, 2020 10:25 PM

A giant screen is set on the sideline to play videos of fans watching the CBA games online. Photo: VCG

The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), China's top basketball league, hailed the resumption of the sport over the weekend after an almost five-month-long hiatus. As games were held behind closed doors, dolls and empty uniforms took seats normally reserved for fans in the stadiums to help liven up the venues. 

In accordance with the CBA's anti-epidemic policy, the 20 teams of the CBA league are being divided into two divisions which will compete in the cities of South China's Dongguan and East China's Qingdao to reduce travel.

CBA President Yao Ming, who has underlined that the priority of the games resumption is "caution," had to take bullet train to Qingdao in Shandong Province from Beijing to witness a game between the Beijing Ducks and the Liaoning Flying Leopards on Saturday, as the direct flight between the cities were canceled due to the recent outbreak in the capital.

Teddy bears and pandas among other animals sat in the stands at both stadiums, in addition to uniforms of fan-favorite sports teams ranging from US Major League baseball teams to European soccer giants.

The organizers also came up with several other creative ways for athletes to feel the presence of fans who were tuning in from home. 

At both venues, a giant screen was set on the sideline to play videos of fans watching the games online. Additional screens displaying comments from fans were also set in front of the benches to give fans a new way to interact with the games. 

Uniforms of sports teams are seen in the stands. Photo: VCG

Meanwhile, restrictions are not limited to fans and the players. 

Sports journalists covering the games must stay quarantined at the hotels close to the venues, even if they are residents in the cities. Additionally, they must undergo two nucleic acid tests before going to cover a match. 

Besides, athletes and coaches are required to wear face masks when attending post-match press conferences, as the games are played under the slogan "Go all out for resumption."

A CBA logo on the top-right side of team uniforms has been replaced by a face mask-shaped logo with Chinese word bisheng, or "sure victory," to boost social confidence in the battle against COVID-19. 

The games featured several emotional moments. 

Players observed a minute of silence ahead of the games to pay tribute to those who have died during the coronavirus epidemic. 

Young amputee basketballer Zhang Jiacheng, who has become an online sensation with his one-handed basketball skills, was invited to take part in the starting ceremony at the opening game between the Guangdong South China Tigers and the Shanxi Loongs in Dongguan.