U.S.--China Basketball Brawl Put Behind


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A good-will basketball game between an American and Chinese team erupted into a massive brawl on Thursday. Some are calling it one of the worst fights in international sports history.

It was supposed to be a game of good will, between the U.S. Georgetown Hoyas and China's Bayi Military Rockets in Beijing's Olympic Sports Center Stadium. But ten minutes before the game was over, the supposedly friendly game turned violent.

Fists were flying, as crowds threw full water bottles, and even chairs, at the American team. The August 18th match coincided with a visit by U.S. vice president Joe Biden, who watched the Hoyas compete against another Chinese team just the night before.

The Bayi Military Rockets have a reputation for brawls. But Hoyas coach John Thompson said they've put the incident behind them.

[John Thompson, Georgetown Hoyas Coach]:
"Yeah, we just got together and shook hands and you know the coach (of Bayi Rockets) and I talked about things other than basketball, our families, and we both are ready to move on."

It's not clear what sparked the fight. Some speculate Chinese referees had unfairly targeted the American team. By halftime, the Hoyas had 28 fouls against them, the Rockets only 11. The Rockets also had been given an unheard of 57 free throws. The game was tied when the fight broke out.

The two teams had been scheduled to play each other again Sunday in Shanghai. Instead, the Hoyas played the Liaoning Dinosaurs. The schedule change was supposedly made before the brawl, and unrelated.