It saddens me to say that the NFL lockout (well former) is not a concern for everyone. There are actually people out there who could care less about what happens to the NFL. In fact, I can give you about a billion of them who feel that way. If there is one thing I can say about China it is that they love their sports. As of recently, basketball has specifically become the popular sport.
Over the past few years the popularity of basketball in China has increased exponentially. Some will say that it is because of the high penetration of internet usage or more players traveling internationally, but I suggest a one-syllable word, YAO. Yao Ming has single handedly popularized the once dominated American sport. With the pressure of carrying the weight of an entire nation on his shoulders, Yao has been the face of basketball in China for the past decade.
As China continues to grow and release some of their barriers of internet usage, Chinese citizens have been allowed to take a more active role in the growth of the sport through online voting. Since the inception of online fan voting, specifically for the NBA All-Star, China has always played a vital role. They continue to rely on social media to connect with others by supporting various athletes and engaging in dialogue about basketball. As his fame prevailed in the U.S. his legacy was extended at home.
In all fairness China does not just show favoritism to their locals, but they are deeply in love with basketball. This was shown as Dwight Howard took a trip to China after being crowned the champion of the dunk contest. China even likes soon to be champions, as they are one of the few groups that support the Miami Heat. None of this would be possible had it not been for the 7 foot mild mannered giant, Yao Ming. My only concern is that with his recent retirement, and billions of those who are hoping the NBA can resolve their lockout, how will this big void be filled. Will his retirement break Chinese interest in basketball or merely slow it a bit?