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Fourteen-year-old Zhang Ziyu has taken the internet by storm in a viral video of her playing basketball, towering over her teammates. The 7-foot-4 prodigy from East China’s Shandong Province became a trending topic Thursday as she helped her team win a title during a competition held in Jingzhou, scoring 42 points, with 25 rebounds and six blocks. Zhang quickly drew comparisons to former NBA star and Chinese basketball player Yao Ming, who is 7-foot-6. According to the Global Times, Zhang was 5-foot-2 when she was in the first grade and 6-foot-9 by the sixth grade.
The league has continued to seize the opportunity, taking their pre-season games abroad, signing international contracts with networks including China’s Tencent, and expanding its social media presence, where nearly 70% of their followers are outside of the U.S. “Our business around the world continues to grow, which fuels talent from all those parts of the world into our league, which makes the league that much more attractive to our fans on a global basis,” Tatum said.
Although Silver defended Morey’s freedom of speech and resisted pressure from the Chinese government to fire him, Silver stressed that Morey’s views did not reflect the NBA’s. “It certainly doesn’t mean that we are blessing everything that happens in China by any means. We are at root an American company, and so we follow U.S. government policy,” Silver said. “But it’s my expectation that we will continue to distribute our games in China through their service, Tencent, and others, and that we can play a productive role in helping the people of the United States and the people of China have a better understanding of each other, and see that we’re all human beings and that there is commonality between us.”