Domination in Shanghai, How Things Need To Get Better, and a Black Russian
Olympic coverage here at A Modern Lei Feng will most likely be pretty widespread and in Shanghai yesterday, the US Basketball team was in action against Russia. While the US lost its "Dream Team" moniker long ago, in China, its still being referred to as "Dream Team 8". Unlike in previous years, this edition may actually live up to that name and Chinese NBA fans were out in force to watch Kobe, LeBron, and all the rest in Shanghai yesterday as the teams played in front of a packed, sold out house of nearly 15,000 fans.
The US squad trounced the Russians, 89-68, and much like in previous warmups to the Beijing Olympics, the result was never in doubt. From the very beginning, it was also obvious which team the crowd was there to see, as the chant of "MVP" began from Kobe's very first touch of the ball. The Russian squad was stronger than what they'd put out during previous warmup games, with the inclusion of NBA star, Andrei Kirilenko, and JR Holden, the first black Russian most people have ever seen.
Options for food inside the stadium were limited to Element Fresh, which was far underprepared for the crowds they got hit by. Prices for sandwiches, salads (RMB20 for both), and drinks (RMB5) were reasonable, but popcorn was RMB25 or 45, a bit steep. Only Coke products were on offer, though Gatorade had a stall offering free tiny cups to sample. The beer was Carlsberg, and was provided by popular Shanghai sports bar, the Big Bambou.
Finally, for those going to the stadium tomorrow night for the game against Australia, be warned. Due to preparations for Olympic soccer at Shanghai Stadium, Shanghai Indoor Stadium couldn't be used, so the game was played out at Qizhong Tennis Center, a LONG way from downtown Shanghai. Getting to the stadium required a 30 minute cab ride after taking the subway to the end of the line at Xinzhuang. Despite leaving the stadium a little early (only to be met by a downpour), I was unable to find a cab anywhere near the stadium, nor were there any buses to be seen. The cops could only offer a curt "I don't know" when asked where the nearest bus stop was. If not for some very, very kind unknown soul, I would probably still roaming around Minhang District right now. Make sure you have plans or know exactly how to get back to the city!