flopping out of the FIBA World Cup tournament and likely ruining its chances for qualifying to play in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Yao Ming has stepped forward and directed all the blame to be put on his shoulders.ith China
Yao took charge of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017. At the same time, he began directing the implementation of reforms from the youth level all the way up to the national team, aimed at making China into a basketball power to be reckoned with.
He had said that he expected his reforms would start paying off by 2019 when China hosted the FIBA tournament.
However, there has been no payment received. Despite being put into the easiest starting group, China failed to make it to the next round before then losing in the consolation round to Nigeria, thus allowing Iran to push past them as the tournament’s best performing team from Asia and grab the one guaranteed spot reserved for the continent in the Olympics next year.
Playing in Tokyo is now a long shot for the Chinese team which will have to be one of the top-four finishers in a qualifying tournament next year which will feature teams like Lithuania, Slovenia, Canada, and Turkey.
Falling short would mean that the Chinese basketball team would miss competing at the Olympics for the first time in 36 years.
To be fair, it’s not like China has had much success in the arena of Olympic basketball. The last two times, it hasn’t managed to win a game.
But that doesn’t make things any easier for Yao. When asked about who was responsible for China’s poor performance at the FIBA tournament, the basketball legend immediately replied: “Me! It’s me who has disappointed the fans.”
Yao went on to explain that further reform is needed, warning that the gap between China and the world’s best basketball countries is widening.