Oddly Enough

"Too tall" basketball player sparks fan violence

BEIJING (Reuters) - A bizarre row over a player’s height caused a Chinese basketball game to be abandoned and sparked violent scenes that left several cars destroyed in Guangdong earlier this week, local media reported Thursday.

The Dream Basketball League was set up to allow players of “shorter” stature to compete on a level playing field, with a height limit of 6ft 2in (1.88m) imposed.

Basketball players are some of the tallest athletes in sport and China’s own Yao Ming measures 7ft 6in.

However, trouble was brewing when Huizhou Qiaoxing signed Chinese Basketball Association player and three-times national ‘slam dunk’ champion Hu Guang, even though his official CBA profile lists him as 1.95m.

Huizhou’s opponents in a game scheduled for Monday, Shenzhen Kuruite, refused to take to the court unless he was measured but league organisers refused.

Shenzhen forfeited the game but kept up their complaints the following day and the league finally agreed to take the tape to the 27-year-old forward.

“Hu bowed his shoulders and bent his neck back,” Shenzhen player Wang Tiecheng told local newspaper the Daily Sunshine.

“The first result was 186.5cm, the second time was 187cm.”

League officials, who admitted they had “limited ability and technique in measuring,” nevertheless declared Hu eligible for Tuesday’s “monthly final” against Zheshang Bank.

Furious Shenzhen fans disrupted the final by continually chanting: “Unfair, Too tall!” and the game, which was being broadcast live on television, was abandoned at halftime.

Other spectators, upset that the game had been stopped, then smashed up five cars with Shenzhen number plates outside the Dongguan’s Huangyong Arena, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

Reporting by Liu Zhen and Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Peter Rutherford