Chinese Basketball Association

United States China Guangdong Southern Tigers
Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)
Chinese Basketball Association.png
Founded1995; 25 years ago (1995)
First season1995–96
ConfederationFIBA Asia
Number of teams20
Level on pyramid1
Current championsGuangdong Southern Tigers (10th title)
(2019–20 CBA season)
Most championshipsGuangdong Southern Tigers
(10 titles)
2019–20 Chinese Basketball Association season
Chinese Basketball Association
Traditional Chinese中國男子籃球職業聯賽
Simplified Chinese中国男子篮球职业联赛

The Chinese Basketball Association (simplified Chinese: 中国男子篮球职业联赛; traditional Chinese: 中國男子籃球職業聯賽; pinyin: Zhōngguó Nánzǐ Lánqiú Zhíyè Liánsài), often abbreviated as the CBA, is the first-tier professional men's basketball league in China. It is widely regarded as the preeminent professional men's basketball league in Asia.

The league is commonly known by fans as the CBA, and this acronym is even used in Chinese on a regular basis. The CBA should not be confused with the National Basketball League (NBL), which is a professional minor league. There is also a Women's Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA).

A few Chinese players who competed in the CBA in the early stages of their careers — including Wang Zhizhi, Mengke Bateer, Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, Sun Yue, and Zhou Qi — have also played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Others such as Xue Yuyang and Wang Zhelin were chosen in the draft, but have not played in the NBA.

Only a limited number of foreign players are allowed on each CBA team. Notable imports include former NBA All-Stars Stephon Marbury, Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, Steve Francis, and Metta World Peace — as well as several NBA veterans who would become CBA All-Stars — Michael Beasley, Aaron Brooks, Jimmer Fredette, Al Harrington, Lester Hudson, Kenyon Martin, Randolph Morris, Shavlik Randolph, Jeremy Lin and J.R. Smith.


The CBA began play in the 1995–96 season. The league should not be confused with the Chinese Basketball Association (organisation), which was founded in June 1956[1] and represents the country in matters involving the sport's governing body, FIBA. Basketball in China is currently regulated by the Chinese Basketball Management Center.

Other Chinese basketball leagues include the National Basketball League (NBL), the Chinese University Basketball Association (CUBA), and the Chinese High School Basketball League (CHBL).[2] At one time there was a league called the Chinese New Basketball Alliance (CNBA),[3] one of whose most prominent teams was the Beijing Sea Lions, but this venture lasted for just one winter (1996–97).[4]

The first non-Chinese player to compete in the CBA was Mihail Savinkov of Uzbekistan, who joined the Zhejiang Squirrels in the league's inaugural 1995–96 campaign.[5] During the 1996–97 season, James Hodges became one of the first Americans to play in the CBA, and his signing by the Liaoning Hunters helped pave the way for many more imports from the United States to follow in the ensuing years.

Some other notable foreign pioneers included John Spencer, who joined the Jiangsu Dragons later in the 1996–97 campaign, and David Vanterpool, who inked a deal with the Jilin Northeast Tigers the following winter, and helped the team move up to the CBA in time for the 1998–99 season. The CBA's first international coach was American Robert Hoggard, who led the Sichuan Pandas for the last eight games of the 1997–98 campaign.[6]

Team names

For a full list of teams, see Category:Chinese Basketball Association teams.

The full name of each team usually consists of three parts, in the following order:

  1. A geographic designation (except in the case of Bayi, which technically translates into English as "August First," the day China's People's Liberation Army was founded). All others are province-level designations (either a province or a Chinese municipality).
  2. A corporate sponsor name. This sponsor may change from year to year, and sometimes even in mid-season.
  3. A nickname, such as the name of an animal.

The presence of corporate sponsor names can occasionally lead to confusion about what name to use in English because many variants may be seen. Team names are usually abbreviated (in Chinese or English), so that either the corporate sponsor name or the nickname is used interchangeably (rarely both). In addition, team nicknames can sometimes be translated into English in more than one way, and corporate sponsors tend to change frequently over time.

Nickname changes are rare, but occasionally happen, such as when the Shandong team switched from Flaming Bulls (1995) to Lions (2003) to Gold Lions (2004) to Golden Stars (2014). Other examples include the Liaoning team dumping Hunters (1995) for Dinosaurs (2008) and then Flying Leopards (2011) -- as well as the Foshan team's evolving attempts to "Anglicize" its nickname—by going from Kylins (2001) to Dralions to Long-Lions

In previous years, the title of the league itself was available for corporate naming sponsorship. In 1999–2000 and 2000–2001 it was known as the Hilton League, in 2001–2002 and 2002–2003 it was the Motorola League, and in 2003–2004 it was sponsored by China Unicom. These corporate league titles were not always used in the news media, however, and this sponsorship practice was discontinued at the start of the 2004–2005 season.[7]

Current clubs

While teams are listed by division here, the CBA does not use these designations for regular season purposes anymore, as each squad now plays each other once at home and once on the road (plus eight additional games within each of the four rotating "strength of schedule" sub-groupings). Divisions are used for the league's annual All-Star Game, however, and are shown here for the sake of convenience.

Team City / Region Arena Head Coach
Northern Division
Beijing Ducks Beijing Wukesong Arena China Xie Libin(Executive head coach)
Beijing Royal Fighters Beijing Beijing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium United States Stephon Marbury
Jilin Northeast Tigers Changchun, Jilin
Jilin City, Jilin
Changchun Gymnasium
Jilin City Arena
China Wang Han
Liaoning Flying Leopards Shenyang, Liaoning Liaoning Gymnasium China Yang Ming
Qingdao Eagles Qingdao, Shandong Guoxin Gymnasium China Wu Qinglong
Shandong Heroes Jinan, Shandong Shandong Arena China Gong Xiaobin
Shanxi Loongs Taiyuan, Shanxi Shanxi Sports Centre Gymnasium
Taiyuan Riverside Sports Centre Gymnasium
China Wang Fei
Sichuan Blue Whales Chengdu, Sichuan Sichuan Provincial Gymnasium China Zhou Jinli
Tianjin Pioneers Tianjin Dongli Gymnasium
Tianjin Arena
China Liu Tie
Xinjiang Flying Tigers Ürümqi, Xinjiang Hongshan Arena China Adiljan Suleyman
Southern Division
Bayi Rockets Nanchang, Jiangxi Nanchang International Sports Center Gymnasium China Wang Zhizhi
Fujian Sturgeons Jinjiang, Quanzhou, Fujian Zuchang Gymnasium Serbia Aleksandar Kesar
Guangdong Southern Tigers Dongguan, Guangdong Dongfeng Nissan Cultural and Sports Centre China Du Feng
Guangzhou Loong Lions Guangzhou, Guangdong Tianhe Gymnasium China Ding Wei
Jiangsu Dragons Suzhou, Jiangsu

Changzhou, Jiangsu
Suzhou Industrial Park Sports Center
Suzhou Sports Center Gymnasium
Changzhou Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium
Slovenia Memi Bečirovič
Nanjing Monkey Kings Nanjing, Jiangsu Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park China Cui Wanjun
Shanghai Sharks Shanghai Yuanshen Sports Centre Stadium China Liu Wei
Shenzhen Aviators Shenzhen, Guangdong Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre China Wang Jianjun
Zhejiang Golden Bulls Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Yiwu, Jinhua, Zhejiang
Binjiang Gymnasium
Yiwu Meihu Sports Centre
China Liu Weiwei
Zhejiang Guangsha Lions Zhuji, Shaoxing, Zhejiang
Hangzhou, Zhejiang
Zhuji Sports Centre Gymnasium
Hangzhou Gymnasium
China Li Chunjiang


This is a chronological listing of current and former CBA teams according to the season that they entered the league.

Nanjing Monkey KingBeijing Royal FightersSichuan Blue WhalesTianjin RonggangQingdao DoubleStarZhejiang LionsShenzhen LeopardsYunnan BullsShanxi ZhongyuFujian SturgeonsXinjiang Flying TigersHong Kong Flying DragonsPure-Youth Construction Basketball TeamShenzhen YikangGuangzhou Long-LionsJilin Northeast TigersBeijing OlympiansShanghai SharksZhejiang Golden BullsShandong Golden StarsLiaoning Flying LeopardsJiangsu DragonsGuangdong Southern TigersBeijing DucksBayi Rockets

Current Teams Defunct Teams


In 2005, the league unveiled the Mou Zuoyun Cup (Chinese: 牟作云杯), which was awarded for the first time to the winning team in the CBA Finals. Mou Zuoyun (1913–2007) was a member of the Chinese men's national basketball team which competed at the 1936 Summer Olympics, and he later served as a coach and a pioneer in building Chinese basketball.[8]

Season Champions Result Runners-up Finals MVP Notes
1995–96 Bayi Rockets 2–0 Guangdong Southern Tigers Home-and-away series used for 2 seasons
1996–97 Bayi Rockets 2–0 Liaoning Hunters
1997–98 Bayi Rockets 3–0 Liaoning Hunters Best-of-five series used for 8 seasons
1998–99 Bayi Rockets 3–0 Liaoning Hunters
1999–00 Bayi Rockets 3–0 Shanghai Sharks Wang Zhizhi (Bayi)
2000–01 Bayi Rockets 3–1 Shanghai Sharks Yao Ming (Shanghai)
2001–02 Shanghai Sharks 3–1 Bayi Rockets Liu Yudong (Bayi)
2002–03 Bayi Rockets 3–1 Guangdong Southern Tigers Liu Yudong (Bayi)
2003–04 Guangdong Southern Tigers 3–1 Bayi Rockets Du Feng (Guangdong)
2004–05 Guangdong Southern Tigers 3–2 Jiangsu Dragons Zhu Fangyu (Guangdong)
2005–06 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–1 Bayi Rockets Yi Jianlian (Guangdong) Best-of-seven series used since 2005–06
2006–07 Bayi Rockets 4–1 Guangdong Southern Tigers Wang Zhizhi (Bayi)
2007–08 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–1 Liaoning Hunters Zhu Fangyu (Guangdong)
2008–09 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–1 Xinjiang Flying Tigers Zhu Fangyu (Guangdong)
2009–10 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–1 Xinjiang Flying Tigers Zhu Fangyu (Guangdong)
2010–11 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–2 Xinjiang Flying Tigers Wang Shipeng (Guangdong)
2011–12 Beijing Ducks 4–1 Guangdong Southern Tigers Lee Hsueh-lin (Beijing)
2012–13 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–0 Shandong Gold Lions Yi Jianlian (Guangdong)
2013–14 Beijing Ducks 4–2 Xinjiang Flying Tigers Randolph Morris (Beijing)
2014–15 Beijing Ducks 4–2 Liaoning Flying Leopards Stephon Marbury (Beijing)
2015–16 Sichuan Blue Whales 4–1 Liaoning Flying Leopards Hamed Haddadi (Sichuan)
2016–17 Xinjiang Flying Tigers 4–0 Guangdong Southern Tigers Darius Adams (Xinjiang)
2017–18 Liaoning Flying Leopards 4–0 Zhejiang Guangsha Lions Lester Hudson (Liaoning)
2018–19 Guangdong Southern Tigers 4–0 Xinjiang Flying Tigers Yi Jianlian (Guangdong)
2019–20 Guangdong Southern Tigers 2–1 Liaoning Flying Leopards Sonny Weems (Guangdong) Best-of-three series due to the COVID-19 pandemic[9]

Finals appearances

This is a list of the teams which have advanced to the CBA Finals and the overall win-loss records they have registered in the Championship Series.

No. Team W L Pct. Notes
15 Guangdong Southern Tigers 10 5 .667 Made eleven consecutive finals appearances from 2002–03 to 2012–13
11 Bayi Rockets 8 3 .727 Won six league titles in a row from 1995–96 to 2000–01
3 Beijing Ducks 3 0 1.000 Won three league titles in four seasons from 2011–12 to 2014–15
8 Liaoning Flying Leopards 1 7 .125 Made three consecutive finals appearances from 1996–97 to 1998–99
6 Xinjiang Flying Tigers 1 5 .167 Made three consecutive finals appearances from 2008–09 to 2010–11
3 Shanghai Sharks 1 2 .333 Made three consecutive finals appearances from 1999–00 to 2001–02
1 Sichuan Blue Whales 1 0 1.000
1 Jiangsu Dragons 0 1 .000
1 Shandong Gold Lions 0 1 .000
1 Zhejiang Guangsha Lions 0 1 .000


The CBA Most Valuable Player award is presented to the league's best player in a given CBA season. Since the 2012–13 campaign, two awards have been handed out each year, Domestic MVP and International MVP. At the conclusion of each season, the CBA Finals MVP award is bestowed upon the most outstanding player in that year's championship series.

Each campaign's scoring leader is also recognized on an annual basis and the league maintains a list of single game, single season, and career record holders in various statistical categories. Furthermore, a CBA All-Star Game MVP award is given to the player deemed to have the most impactful performance in the league's annual mid-season exhibition contest.

Scoring leaders

The CBA's highest single season scoring average, depending on how many games are required to be recognized as a statistical qualifier, is either 43.1 points per game by Jordan Crawford, who played in 26 of Tianjin's 38 games (68.4%) in 2015–16, or 42.0 points per game by Jonathan Gibson, who played in 36 of Qingdao's 38 games (94.7%) in 2015–16.


This is a list of individual records separated into two categories — career records and single game records.

Records last updated and confirmed on March 13, 2019, the final day of the 2018–19 CBA regular season.

Single game records

Record Num. Player Team Game Date
United States Errick McCollum
Zhejiang Golden Bulls
Zhejiang Golden Bulls 119–129 Guangdong Southern Tigers
2015 January 30[10]
Dominica Garth Joseph
Shaanxi Kylins
Shaanxi Kylins 139–88 Shenzhen Yikang
2002 March 20[11]
China Li Qun
Guangdong Southern Tigers
Guangdong Southern Tigers 110–101 Nanjing Army
2000 February 2
China Ju Weisong
Shandong Flaming Bulls
Shandong Flaming Bulls 84–70 Vanguard / Police
1995–96 Season
China Zhang Yongjun
Guangdong Southern Tigers
Bayi Rockets 109–81 Guangdong Southern Tigers
1996–97 Season
China Hu Xuefeng
Jiangsu Dragons
Jiangsu Dragons 135–108 Jilin Northeast Tigers
2004 December 1
China Yao Ming
Shanghai Sharks
Jilin Northeast Tigers 126–118 Shanghai Sharks
2001 February 11[12]
Ivory Coast Herve Lamizana
Tianjin Gold Lions
Tianjin Gold Lions 113–108 Fujian Sturgeons
2010 February 10[13]
United States Sean Williams
Fujian Sturgeons
Fujian Sturgeons 101–94 Jilin Northeast Tigers
2010 February 26[14]
Minutes Played
Iran Samad Nikkhah Bahrami
Fujian Sturgeons
Fujian Sturgeons 178–177 (5OT) Zhejiang Golden Bulls
2014 February 9[15]
3-Pointers Made
United States Leon Rodgers
Jilin Northeast Tigers
Jilin Northeast Tigers 124–110 Shanxi Brave Dragons
2009 March 11[16]
Dunks Made
United States James Hodges
Liaoning Hunters
Liaoning Hunters 95–85 Shandong Flaming Bulls
1998–99 Season
Free Throws Made
United States Errick McCollum
Zhejiang Golden Bulls
Zhejiang Golden Bulls 119–129 Guangdong Southern Tigers
2015 January 30[17]

Career records

Record Num. Player Team(s) Seasons
China Yi Jianlian (active)
Guangdong Southern Tigers
2002–2003 to 2006–2007 / 2011–2012 to present
China Yi Jianlian (active)
Guangdong Southern Tigers
2002–2003 to 2006–2007 / 2011–2012 to present
China Hu Xuefeng
Jiangsu Dragons
1999–2000 to 2016–2017
China Hu Xuefeng
Jiangsu Dragons
1999–2000 to 2016–2017
China Wang Zhizhi
Bayi Rockets
1995–1996 to 2000–2001 / 2006–2007 to 2014–2015
Minutes Played
(Only available since 2011)
United States Lester Hudson (active)
Guangdong Southern Tigers
Qingdao Eagles
Dongguan Leopards
Xinjiang Flying Tigers
Liaoning Flying Leopards
Shandong Heroes
2010–2011 to present[18]
3-Pointers Made
United States Lester Hudson (active)
Guangdong Southern Tigers
Qingdao Eagles
Dongguan Leopards
Xinjiang Flying Tigers
Liaoning Flying Leopards
Shandong Heroes
2010–2011 to present
Dunks Made
China Yi Jianlian(active)
Guangdong Southern Tigers
2002–2003 to 2006–2007 / 2011–2012 to present[19]
Free Throws Made
China Yi Jianlian (active)
Guangdong Southern Tigers
2002–2003 to 2006–2007 / 2011–2012 to present
Personal Fouls
China Li Xiaoxu(active)
Liaoning Flying Leopards
China Hu Xuefeng
Jiangsu Dragons
1999–2000 to 2016–2017
Games Played
China Zhu Fangyu
Guangdong Southern Tigers
1999–2000 to 2016–2017[20]

Notable players

Listed below are some of the most accomplished Chinese players who have competed in the CBA. Time spent with teams in lower leagues before they joined the CBA, or after they left the CBA, cannot be counted as CBA seasons. Notes will be made of such service below a player's CBA information.

Domestic players from the CBA who are known for crossing over to the NBA

Name CBA Team (Years) NBA Team (Years) Drafted
China Mengke Bateer
Beijing Ducks (1997–2002, 2005–2006)
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2007–2013)
Denver Nuggets (2002)
San Antonio Spurs (2002–2003)
Toronto Raptors (2003–2004)
Undrafted in 1999 NBA Draft
China Sun Yue
Beijing Olympians (2002–2004)
Beijing Ducks (2013–2017)
Beikong Royal Fighters (2019–present)
Also played for post-CBA Beijing Olympians in 2004–2008 & 2009–2013
Los Angeles Lakers (2008–2009)
2007 / Round 2 / 40th overall pick
Selected by Los Angeles Lakers
China Wang Zhizhi
Bayi Rockets (1995–2001 & 2006–2015)
Dallas Mavericks (2001–2002)
Los Angeles Clippers (2002–2003)
Miami Heat (2003–2005)
1999 / Round 2 / 36th overall pick
Selected by Dallas Mavericks
China Yao Ming
Shanghai Sharks (1997–2002)
Houston Rockets (2002–2011)
2002 / Round 1 / 1st overall pick
Selected by Houston Rockets
China Yi Jianlian
Guangdong Southern Tigers (2002–2007, 2011, 2012–present)
Milwaukee Bucks (2007–2008)
New Jersey Nets (2008–2010)
Washington Wizards (2010–2011)
Dallas Mavericks (2012)
2007 / Round 1 / 6th overall pick
Selected by Milwaukee Bucks
China Zhou Qi
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2014–2017)
Houston Rockets (2017–2018)
2016 / Round 2 / 46th overall pick
Selected by Houston Rockets

Domestic players from the CBA who were drafted but have not played in the NBA

Name CBA Team (Years) Drafted
China Wang Zhelin
Fujian Sturgeons (2012–present)
2016 / Round 2 / 57th overall pick
Selected by Memphis Grizzlies
China Xue Yuyang
Jilin Northeast Tigers (2001–2002)
Hong Kong Flying Dragons (2002–2003)
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2003–2010)
Zhejiang Guangsha Lions (2010–2011)
Qingdao Eagles (2011–2014)
2003 / Round 2 / 57th overall pick
Selected by Dallas Mavericks

Domestic players from the CBA who have only played in NBA pre-season games

Name CBA Team (Years) NBA Team (Pre-season)
China Ding Yanyuhang
Shandong Gold Lions/Golden Stars (2011–2018)
Dallas Mavericks (2018–2019)
China Liu Wei
Shanghai Sharks (1997–2014, 2018–2019)
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2014–2016)
Sichuan Blue Whales (2016–2018)
Sacramento Kings (2004–2005)

Domestic players from the CBA who have participated in the NBA Summer League

Name CBA Team (Years) NBA Team (Summer League)
China Abdusalam Abdurixit
Xinjiang Flying Tigers (2015–present)
Golden State Warriors (2018)
China Ding Yanyuhang
Shandong Gold Lions/Golden Stars (2011–2018)
Dallas Mavericks (2017)
China He Tianju
Liaoning Dinosaurs/Flying Leopards (2010–present)
New Orleans Pelicans (2015)

Note: The Red Squad of the Chinese National Team toured the USA and played several NBA Summer League teams during the 2018 NBA Summer League season while the combined Chinese National Team did likewise during the 2019 NBA Summer League season.

Domestic players from the CBA who are known for league or national team exploits

Scroll down to view more names.

Foreign imports

Listed below are some of the most accomplished foreign imports who have competed in the CBA. Players must appear in at least one game for the team to receive credit for a season. Someone who signs a contract but never steps on the court does not count.

Non-Chinese players who spent 5 or more seasons in the CBA

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Non-Chinese players who spent 2 to 4 seasons in the CBA

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Non-Chinese players for whom 2019–20 is their 1st season in the CBA

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Other Non-Chinese players who spent only 1 season in the CBA

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On October 4, 2019, the Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey issued a tweet in support of the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests.[21] Morey's tweet resulted in the Chinese Basketball Association’s suspension of its relationship with the Houston Rockets and China Central Television's removal of all NBA games from its broadcast schedule until further notice.[22]

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-03. Retrieved 2005-04-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2010-03-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ (in Chinese).
  5. ^ (in Chinese).
  6. ^ "{{in lang|zh}}". Archived from the original on 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Octogenarian Desires to See Beijing Olympics in lifetime". People's Daily. 2001-07-15. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  9. ^ "Guangdong win 10th China basketball crown after virus-hit season". France 24. 15 August 2020. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  10. ^ Goshen College Graduate Errick McCollum Scores 82 Points
  11. ^ CBA Asks Overseas Players To Wear Blindfolds (satire)
  12. ^ How Much Do You Know About Yao Ming's CBA 7 Top Highlights (in Chinese)
  13. ^ Tianjin Replaces David Harrison With Hervé Lamizana
  14. ^ Ex-Net Sean Williams Tied The CBA Record Of 13 Blocks In One Game
  15. ^ Unofficial Box Score From Longest Game In CBA History
  16. ^ World Records: Most Three-Pointers Made In One Game
  17. ^ Errick McCollum Scores CBA Record 82 Points
  18. ^ Hudson's 2010–11 minutes estimated at 1,073 (37 per game which is slightly below his average for the next couple of seasons). As of 2019, the CBA's all-time leader in minutes is Hu Xuefeng or Liu Wei, but the league didn't record minutes before 2011.
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Basketball Association For Zhu Fangyu "Rain" Sends Blessings: Remembering The Contributions And Wishing Smooth Sailing (in Chinese)
  21. ^ "Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweets support for Hong Kong protests, prompting response from owner". October 5, 2019.
  22. ^ "Rockets' general manager's Hong Kong comments anger China". AP. AP. October 7, 2019.