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Basketball in China Part I: A Growing Force (2)

By Li Zhenyu (People's Daily Online)

16:09, July 23, 2012

2008 Olympics: The Dream Collision

In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China's basketball team had an outstanding performance.

China was in the "group of death" with the United States, Spain and Greece. It showed grit and made it to the quarterfinals.

China nearly beat Spain, the defending Olympic champion. The game went into overtime with Spain prevailing 85-75 in the end. The legendary Yao Ming fouled out after scoring only 11 points. He was 4 for 12 from the field and had four turnovers.

The highlight of the 2008 Olympic basketball games was the showdown between the host nation China and the superpower United States.

Before the home crowds in the capital city, with superstar Yao Ming, Wang Zhizhi, Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue in the lineup, this version of the Chinese National Team was the strongest in history and billed as the Chinese "Dream Team".

The United States also dispatched its best troops possible. The Dream Team VIII consisted of such big names as Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Jason Kidd and Carmelo Anthony, and the list goes on and on…The All-star U.S. team was considered by some to be even stronger than the original Dream Team and also the strongest in history.

It was a "dream collision" for the basketball fans.

In the "collision of giants", China looked spectacular, leading the scoreboard in the first 20 minutes. At six minutes in the second quarter, the score was 29 to 29. But after that, China got blown out behind double digits and lost it 101-70.

The China-U.S. basketball game was billed as one of the marque events of the Olympics and one of the most important sporting events in Chinese history.

There was an estimated 1 billion Chinese watched the game on television, in addition to the 18,000 people who watched the game live at Wukesong Arena.

Li Zhenyu authors the "Beyond Gold" column for People's Daily Online.

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