End of an era for eight-time Chinese champion Bayi Rockets
The CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) announced on Tuesday that Bayi’s basketball team, the Bayi Rockets, had withdrawn from China’s professional basketball leagues.
This is the result of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) downsizing and rearranging its sports teams. Consequently, the PLA has withdrawn them from professional national leagues to enhance their capabilities to serve the military.
Bayi Rockets is one of those military teams, and in the Chinese language, the team’s name “Bayi” means “Eight One.” It refers to August 1, the founding date in 1927 of the PLA.
The army will remove competitive crowd-pleasing sports from its sports agenda. However, specialized project teams with military characteristics will be retained.
The Bayi teams will no longer participate in professional sporting events nationwide. Instead, they will compete in the Military World Games and individual competitions of the International Military Sports Council.
With the continued downsizing of the PLA in the last few years, observers have seen non-combatant forces, generally the main recruitment pool for Bayi teams, as a priority for personnel reduction.
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