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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Well, If It Helps Bash China, What the Hey?

Hannah Beech makes a claim that immediately rang false to me:

"Firstly, at a mere 6’3”—relatively short by basketball standards—Lin might not have registered with Chinese basketball scouts, who in their quest for suitable kids to funnel into the state sports system are obsessed with height over any individual passion for hoops."

Does Chinese basketball really not have a place for players who are a mere 6'3"? That would be shocking. And rightly so, because it is nonsense. Almost every single roster I have looked up for a Chinese basketball team has multiple players 6'3" and under, some as short as 5'9". (I found two teams that only had one player 6'3" or under, and none that didn't have at least one.) Lin's height obviously would have been no problem at all. And it only took me a couple of minutes to discover this. But the fact this is so easily debunked did not stop others from repeating it!

10 comments:

  1. Gene, you are nitpicking here. You are correct that 6'3" is not short by any stretch of the imagination for point guards at any level. But Jeremy Lin was not always big and strong. He entered freshman year of high school at a scrawny 5'3". His parents stand at 5'6". You don't have to be John Lennon to imagine that he would not be drafted into China's state basketball development program. The Economist takes note of this:
    "Even when Mr Lin was still a young boy, one look at his parents, each of unremarkable stature, would have made evaluators sceptical."

    You also ignore two other salient points that the Economist makes. One, "the Communist Party bars religion from its membership and institutions, and religion has no place in its sport model." Two, "to put one’s child (and in China, usually an only child at that) in the sport system is to surrender that child’s upbringing and education to a bureaucracy that cares for little but whether he or she will win medals someday."

    There is far too much China-bashing in Western media, but in this case I think the points made are valid.

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    Replies
    1. I think you're mistakenly thinking that any country has an interest in their sports stars beyond their ability to win!

      Has anyone even done a proper study on lifetime outcomes of being a has been sports star???

      As for the other 'pop' please could you let me know how many Amish basketball stars there are?

      If some religious whackjob wishes to restrict their own childs life chances then the state can hardly be held responsible for that.

      Delete
  2. Doug, talk about nit-picking! I made ONE claim: that 6'3" is not too short to attract the attention of Chinese scouts, which the article claimed was true. Because I show that one claim is invalid, that means I am "ignoring" other claims that I didn't address? Perhaps I didn't address them because I figured they were probably correct? I can't correct one mistake without mentioning every other point in the article?

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  3. This is a neat hobby you've developed, Gene. So you just use Google to see if bloggers are saying demonstrably false things? I bet you'll be busy for a while.

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  4. "But Jeremy Lin was not always big and strong."

    Also, Doug, you might note this is true of all children: they all start out very tiny, and even unable to dunk!

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  5. "This is a neat hobby you've developed, Gene."

    Idle hands are the devil's tools!

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  6. Gene, your joke is hilarious but you still are missing the point.

    Lin is unlikely to have been selected into a Chinese basketball development program because his parents are each 5'6" and he was a late bloomer. He stood at 5'3" and 120 lbs. as a Freshman and wasn't offered a D-I basketball scholarship because he was considered too small for D-I ball at only 6'1 170 lbs as he entered his senior season.

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  7. "Lin is unlikely to have been selected into a Chinese basketball development program because his parents are each 5'6" and he was a late bloomer. He stood at 5'3" and 120 lbs."

    No, Doug, I am NOT "missing the point." If the writer's only claim had been, "Lin was unlikely to make it in Chinese basketball because he was short when he was 13," I would not have posted anything.

    But she ALSO claimed, "Lin was unlikely to make it in Chinese basketball because he is only 6'3"."

    That claim is false, as I've shown. You are not proving otherwise by showing that she ALSO wrote some other things that ARE true. I never said "Every single word in her story is false." No. I said "This ONE claim is false." And you don't even dispute that that one claim is false. So what is the point here?

    Let me state it very clearly: Beech wrote an article in which almost everything is true, as far as I know. I did not mention those many true (I suspect) claims she made. That is because I generally expect reporters to put ONLY true things in their stories. However, she said one false thing, that I noted was false. I am very, very sorry I did not also note each of the hundreds of true things also in the story.

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  8. You're right, Gene, Beech's claim that 6'3" is short by basketball standards in the CBA is false. Presumably, though, when Chinese basketball scouts search for "suitable kids to funnel into the state sports system" they start their searches well before they are full-grown, well-muscled NBA athletes. Hmmm, what do you think? Maybe they start this search around when the kids are 13? Lin's height may have posed a problem.

    I already granted you that Beech's claim was false in my first post when I wrote: "You are correct that 6'3" is not short by any stretch of the imagination for point guards at any level."

    Perhaps if your title to this post was "Hannah Beech makes false claim about the height of CBA point guards," I would have left your post alone.

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  9. "You're right, Gene, Beech's claim that 6'3" is short by basketball standards in the CBA is false."

    And that is all I ever claimed. I never said anything remotely like, "The Chinese certainly would have spotted J. Lin!"

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