HK may join elite league
A Hong Kong team may be included in next season's fledgling Hilton Basketball League, according to promoter International Management Group (IMG).
The wheels are being set in motion to include an SAR team in China's Division A league for the first time.
'IMG has officially raised the possibility of this happening with the new National Basketball Management Centre,' said Richard Avory, senior international vice-president of IMG Asia.
'While IMG is firmly in support of a Hong Kong team playing in the Hilton League, we realise that many issues have to be resolved before this can become a reality.' The Hilton League is comprised of 12 teams made up from China's national players and international players, predominantly from the US.
The league is played out over four months beginning in the autumn and ending in early spring.
Already, there is talk that Hong Kong's top club, current Asian Championship team Regal, could join the Chinese league.
Two players from Regal are currently playing in the Hilton League - John Spencer for the Sichuan Pandas and Wayman Strickland for the Guangdong Tigers.
'I think it would be great for Hong Kong players to join the Hilton League, especially as it would help to improve our playing level,' Regal's star centre Yung Kam-wah said. 'My team would try their best to compete with the top teams, but it may take two or three seasons to mix it with the best teams.' The move to include Hong Kong in the Hilton League has been backed by the Beijing-based National Basketball Management Centre.
'The Chinese Basketball Association [CBA] welcomes the idea since China and Hong Kong are now actually the same family,' said Xu Chuan, deputy director of the National Basketball Management Centre.