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- It's popularity exploded in part because of Yao, who was born in Shanghai and played for the Rockets from 2002 to 2011.
- Roughly 300 million people in the country — nearly one-fifth of its population — now play the sport, according to the Chinese Basketball Association.
- It's the most watched professional sport in the country, according to Tencent. The number of people watching NBA games on Tencent's streaming services in China has nearly tripled in the last four years. And during the 2017-2018 season, more than 600 million people watched NBA games on Chinese television networks.
- NBA China, which it established in 2008 to manage the NBA-related events, was worth more than $4 billion, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told Forbes in an interview last year.
- The NBA also partners with Chinese companies, which sell authorized NBA products — including sportswear, beer, dairy drinks and electronics. Partners include Alibaba, (BABA) Li-Ning, and Mengniu Dairy.
- The sport and its stars are also popular on social media. The league has 180 million followers on Chinese social media, according to NBA China. And star players also have huge followings: Kobe Bryant, the former Los Angeles Lakers legend who retired in 2016, has 8.25 million followers on Weibo.