Full Chinese NBA Roster, Plus Big African Mountain

Just in time for the next round of the NBA playoffs, and thanks to two readers, each with the initials AK, here's your comprehensive source of the Chinese listings for NBA team names. This is on the heels of the reports that the Pacers are the "Walkers," the Lakers are the "Lake People," and so on.

I. Authoritative index from China.nba.Com, showing all the teams with their Chinese names.

II. Similar guide, with more Chinese-y layout (below), is from Goalchina.net:


III. Weirdly, China's own Global Times offers an English-language history of the English names of each NBA team. Including that the Celtics were almost named the Unicorns.

IV. An out of date but droll list of Chinese nicknames for NBA players is worth a look. Eg, Dikembe Mutombo was 非洲大山, "Big African Mountain."

Some of the team-name translations are disappointing. For instance, Celtics and Knicks are just transliterations, to the extent the Chinese language allows. Celtics are "kaierte people" -- sure! sounds just like it! this is part of the joy of Chinese transliteration -- and Knicks are nikesi, which is closer. But others are more promising, like the "76 People" out of Philly. I'll let you figure out Raptors, Grizzlies, Bobcats, Spurs, Magic, Heat, etc for your own amusement. Thanks to readers for help.

Bonus: from another reader, more on the possible Chinese versions of "Pacers":
>>FYI, the Pacers were actually named as "a combination of the state's rich history with the harness racing pacers (investor Chuck Barnes was a horse racing enthusiast) and the pace car used for the running of the Indianapolis 500." (http://www.nba.com/pacers/history/pacers_name_history.html)

Just thought you might be interested that it could be Walkers, Drivers, or Horses if the Chinese wanted.

That said, how boring must it be to cheer for the Cleveland Browns?<<
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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