Organized by the Ministry of Education's High School Students Sports Association, the China High School Basketball League (CHBL), won sponsorship from sports giant Nike in its first season in 2003. Nike's promotion has boosted interest among students.
American basketball legend Michael Jordan's appearance at the championship game and the awards ceremony of the 2004 season amplified their enthusiasm.
"I was very glad to get the award from Jordan," said Li Yuzhang, captain of last season's champions, Shenyang No.31 Middle School. "I was very excited to get so close to him, and it will motivate me in the future."
The CHBL has now had three seasons. In the current one, 130 teams from 16 mainland provinces and cities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will fight it out for the championship.
(China.org.cn January 26, 2005)