Full Chinese NBA Roster, Plus Big African Mountain

By James Fallows

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:


ChinaNBA.png


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 An out of date but droll list of Chinese nicknames for NBA players is worth a look.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?<<

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/05/full-chinese-nba-roster-plus-big-african-mountain/238638/