: The Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets fit had a distinctly local spirit for NBA fans in China.
Among the estimated 100- to 200-million television viewing audience in People'S Republic Of China were more than than 400 who packed a Peking barroom at breakfast clip Saturday to watch a unrecorded televised broadcast of Rocket's star Yao Ming Dynasty against Bucks' cub Lolo Jianlian in the Chinese players' first NBA matchup.
"We're here for those two Chinese," said Wu Dialect Disong, a 27-year-old designer observation the game on a big television at the Goose and Duck pub. He and other fans ate an American-style breakfast while cheering on Yao and Lolo at the NBA sponsored event.
Millions of others watched at home. National broadcaster People'S Republic Of People'S Republic Of People'S Republic Of China Central Television carried it on its athletics transmission channel as did 13 other television stations and three web sites, according to the NBA's China subsidiary, NBA China.
"This is the greatest Chinese participant competition in NBA history," athletics author Zhang Qiangic wrote in column on web land site Sina.com. "This is a good thing for Chinese basketball game as well as for the NBA." Today in Sports
The NBA declined to gauge the audience size, though Chinese athletics observers predicted it would be 100 million to 200 million.
The competition and the attending it drew additional cemented the NBA's popularity among Chinese and enhanced the league's thrust for a share of China's growth athletics market. Heidi Ueberroth, the NBA's president for international business, this past hebdomad called the possible audience size "just extraordinary."
While the NBA have got been popular in People'S Republic Of China for more than than a decade, first Yao and now Yi's presence have boosted the sport.
At the Goose and Duck, Shen Xiaolei said he started watching the NBA in 2002 when Yao left the Shanghai Sharks for the Rockets. Now the 24-year-old telephone set company worker said he can place more than than 250 NBA participants and hosts a blog that characteristics anticipations of NBA games.
"I'm excited every clip my anticipation is close to the existent result," Shen said. He expected Lolo to give a good public presentation but that the Rockets would win. In the end, the Rocket's South Korean won 104-88. Lolo grabbed 19 points and nine rebounds, compared with the more than experienced Yao's 28 points, 10 recoils and three assists.
Though Lolo drew plenty of cheers, the Rockets were clearly the favorite, with the crowd at the Goose and Duck whooping and applauding every clip the squad scored.
"After all, we've watched Rockets' games for longer clip so we have got deeper affectionateness for the Rockets," said college pupil Cathy Cheng.
Beyond the merriment and marketplace potential, the outgrowth of two Chinese stars in a athletics is seen as another mark of China's growth influence worldwide.
"First the economy, now sports," said Lithium Weizhan, a 66-year-old retiree who used to work at a sporting commodity retailer.
Liu Jing brought her 4-year-old son, hoping that the Yao-Yi matchup would animate in him a love of basketball.
"Chinese powerfulness is emerging in the NBA," wrote Zhang, the athletics columnist. "There's no also-ran in this match. It's glory for Yao and Lolo and for Chinese basketball."