Basketball: Asian journalists at NBA Finals in US share their thoughts on the series so far

Sports reporter Dong Wang from Beijing's BesTV give his take on who will win the NBA Finals. The season-ending series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers has seen quite a number of journalists from Asian countries sitting co
Sports reporter Dong Wang from Beijing's BesTV give his take on who will win the NBA Finals. The season-ending series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers has seen quite a number of journalists from Asian countries sitting courtside, reflecting the growing popularity of the league across the Pacific. -- SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

Judging by the striking number of Asians among journalists that were in Oakland, California, and now here in Cleveland, Ohio covering this year's NBA Finals, basketball is becoming a major export of the United States. Indeed, America's  NBA appears to becoming to Asia what the EPL is to Singapore. 

My seat in the press section at Game 3 and the upcoming Game 4 Friday morning (June 12)  Singapore time in Quicken Loans Arena Games in Cleveland's Gateway District, covering for the Straits Times online and in print, is right between reporters from the Times of India, the Hindu and a Tamil-language paper again at Game 4 

"The NBA is very popular in India, like English football," said said VV Ramanan, of The Hindu, a 130-year-old New Delhi-based newspaper. "And I'm sure, over the coming years, NBA is going to be as popular as our local cricket game."

Ramanan's opinion of Game 3 as it appeared on Thursday (June 11) in print and online: "A LeBron James show from start to finish".

During interviews on the court itself at the Q, as the arena is known for short, numerous reporters and television teams from China, South Korea, Japan and Australia, home of blossoming NBA star Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers, darted from one player to another in search of the perfect quote. 

Dong Wang, 50, who was born in Shanghai - the same city as Houston Rockets hometown hero Yao Ming, and worked for ESPN Asia's Singapore office for three years, is now back in Beijing with BesTV. and said the interest in the NBA in China remains massive, even though Yao Ming has retired from the game. 

His own vast knowledge of the game easily came through in his comments on how the series has played out thus far, with the team widely considered the underdogs, the Cavaliers, leading the best of seven series 2-1 after a thrilling 96-91 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3. And having home court advantage again as Game 4 approaches. 

"It's very difficult to call right now, espeically after Game 3. The Cavaliers are really strong and they are so determined and adamant," he said. "In Game 4, the Warriors really have to bounce back, to answer all the challenges."

Mr Dong noted that it would really be tough for Golden State if they lose Game 4 and return to their home court in California for Game 5 over the weekend with a 3-1 deficit.

"When down by two games, it's going to be so difficult even though they have the home court advantage when they go back to San Francisco," he said. "It;s a different story. The pressure will be on them".

Another well-known sports reporter from Beijing, Ma Chongyang also gave his thoughts on the series and predictions on the game - in Mandarin. The ony two words I could make out, not knowing the language, was LeBron James and Cavaliers. 

Mr Ma, at least, seems certain that LeBron would carry the Cavaliers to victory.