WE CALL OURSELVES the “Basketball City” and it’s an easy nickname to rationalize in an argument. We have two teams; we have a large base of local support; and the citizenship have integrated it into their identity as a city. And now sitting high on a hill in Liaobu Town the Dongguan Basketball Center, Dongguan Lanqiu Zhongxin to our native hosts, could be the crown jewel.
Does creating this arena, with its modern design, premium craftsmanship and facilities that follow international standards, validate the self given title. No. The Dongguan Leopards have become perennial play-off contenders and have made the semi-finals four times. The Guangdong Southern Tigers are a juggernaut that is always the team to beat. It might, however, solidify the nickname into an undeniable international vernacular.
WE’VE CHOSEN NICKNAMES for the arena, highlighted throughout the captions, that we think suit the new landmark. Make up your own, or send in your votes from the ones we came up with, to the HERE! Dongguan official WeChat account (find the QR Code on the cover) or email@example.com. To start the game, how about we call it the Launch Pad.
ON APPROACH, it shouldn’t be too hard to guess what is going to happen inside this modern steel and glass megalith. The design of The Fortress, commissioned by the Dongguan Civil Construction Administration Office and drawn by the German architect firm GMP Architekten, is simple in its lines and fluid in its rolling curves. The structure, hoisted above its surroundings, is wrapped in a net façade. Its inner walls, painted basketball orange, shine through the 157-meter in diameter outer ring, especially in the night, to look like a steel-framed, three-point highlight.
YOU WILL SEE IT. The massive structure, perched high in mid-flight like the ubiquitous image of Air Jordan, overlooks the Dongbu Expressway just after crossing the Dongcheng border into Liaobu Town. Leading up to the decision of the arena’s location, a poll of Dongguan’s citizenship showed that most important to them was that it would not cause traffic congestion and that the surroundings be green and clean. Liaobu beat out Huangjiang, Nancheng and Humen as the final location of The Post.
LOOK FOR THE UPGRADE if you like the VIP treatment. The Silver Bowl has 96 luxury boxes. During the tour we discovered there is still need for some finishing work at this point, but if you add a personal butler and stock the fridge full of cold beer there is already enough, considering the space, private bathrooms and view, that the boxes look like a lot of fun. Our suggestion—basketball court themed carpeting and Nerf nets.
NUMBERS DON’T LIE, but figures can be stretched. Initial reports of Swish Hill’s seating were rounded up. The actual available seating is 14,730. So if you’ve read 16,000, check your facts. All those people fit inside a space of 60,600 sq. meters. It takes somewhere around 30 minutes to complete the sequence that turns on the interior lights.
AT A GLANCE construction has taken The Swish to an operational level, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, who will call the building and its facilities home, have taken over final details to bring the arena to its ready stage for the 2014-2015 CBA season. Had the Tigers beaten the Beijing Ducks in the semi-finals, the new venue would have been introduced to China and the world stage during the 2014 CBA Finals. But a championship wasn’t in the cards last season, fortunately there will be plenty of time to see them play, because a contact closely involved said there is “no deadline to end the contract” between arena officials and the Tigers front office.
EVEN THOUGH Dongguan missed its opportunity to introduce the arena to basketball greatness during the 2014 CBA Finals, The Tiger Den has already hosted its first public event. The Winnerway Youth Men went up against the Guangdong University of Technology in an exhibition game on February 27. The Winnerway team, a junior team in the Tigers’ system, was able to overpower the Guangdong team that came in as visitors from Guangzhou by 92 to 85.
IN CHINA, basketball can be easily mistaken as the national sport, and it may be the most well funded professional sport, which has certainly put the sport on an upwardly mobile trajectory, but we bet that a poll would find badminton and ping pong on the list of heart and soul leading pastimes. Luckily, the Big Rim is equipped to showcase those, as well as volleyball, and remove the flooring to find a competitive size ice rink. Dongguan is ready for its hockey team and the popular fast track ice-skating meets.