With Yao Ming missing the rest of the NBA season, the first two questions most sports media asked was how this would affect the Houston Rockets’ playoff chances, and whether the center would be healthy in time for the Olympics. Now sports marketing media are reacting to the news, speculating what this means for Reebok, the apparel brand that has staked its future in China to Yao.
In this story for CNBC.com, Darren Rovell explains the trouble that Reebok was in before Yao’s injury, the extent to which the brand’s success depends on the Rockets center and the false belief that Chinese interest in the NBA is all about Yao.
Rovell writes: “The troubling trend for adidas and Reebok is the fact that, as the Chinese watch more basketball and as the players travel more to China, Yao Ming is definitely losing some steam.”
I can attest, from talking to friends here, to the fact that Chinese fans don’t blindly adore Yao Ming. They are proud to have Chinese players in the NBA, but like sports fans everywhere, they express their sophistication by criticizing superstars like Yao and their individuality by picking their own favorites— Lebron James, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett are all players that friends have told me they like.
Tags: basketball, Yao Ming