Baidu Beat

NBA the China way

charliemelvoin, Monday, January 16th, 2012

On Baidu’s list of top 10 real-time search items today, the NBA snagged an impressive 3 spots. There was no special announcement in the news, no player trades or injuries, no coaching histrionics – just 3 basketball games this past Saturday. In honor of the hat trick (excuse the cross-sports metaphor, but “3-pointer” doesn’t have the same ring), we’re taking a closer look at how to search for the NBA.

Although China has its own national league, the American import retains a leg up over the homegrown brand. Indeed, China is the largest market for the NBA outside the US, in large part due to the singular efforts of Yao Ming (姚明). Despite being several time zones away from the action, Chinese fans can follow this current season with a simple click.

If you type in “NBA,” the first result that appears is a product of Baidu’s “Box Computing” technology: an overview of the most recent past games, any current live games, and upcoming games, with direct links to the broadcasts via Sina Sports. In addition to game-specific information, you can quickly access overall season stats for teams and individual players. You can also enter NBA-related discussion forums through Baidu Postbar.

Of course, you can’t search for you favorite teams if you don’t know their Chinese names. Who are the “prodigies”? The “walkers”? The “lake people”? You don’t need to be a basketball fan to appreciate these translation tactics. With the linguistic playbook below – listing Chinese characters, pinyin, the closest direct meaning, and the English team name – you’ll have the fundamental vocab needed to hold court about who’s on court.

Western Conference (西部联盟)

Pacific (太阳评分区)

快船 kuàichuán = “fast boat” = Los Angeles Clippers

国王 guówáng = “king” =  Sacramento Kings

湖人 húrén = “lake people” = Los Angeles Lakers

太阳 tàiyáng = “sun” = Phoenix Suns

勇士 yǒngshì = “warrior” = Golden State Warriors

Southwest (西南分区)

灰熊 huīxióng = “grizzly bear” = Memphis Grizzlies

黄蜂 huángfēng = “hornet” = New Orleans Hornets

小牛 xiǎoniú = “calf” = Dallas Mavericks

火箭 huǒjiàn = “rocket” = Houston Rockets

马刺 mǎcì = “spurs” = San Antonio Spurs

Northwest (西北分区)

爵士 juéshì = “sir” or “knight,” and also “jazz” = Utah Jazz

掘金 juéjīn = “dig gold” = Denver Nuggets

雷霆 léitíng = “thunder” = Oklahoma City Thunder

森林狼 sēnlínláng = “forest wolf” = Minnesota Timberwolves

开拓者 kāituòzhě = “pioneer” = Portland Trail Blazers

Eastern Conference (东部联盟)

Atlantic (大西洋分区)

76人 76 rén = “76 people” = Philadelphia 76ers

凯尔特人 kǎiěrtèrén = “Celtic people” = Boston Celtics

尼克斯 níkèsī = transliteration = New York Knicks

篮网 lánwǎng = “net” = New Jersey Nets

猛龙 měnglóng = “fierce dragon” = Toronto Raptors

Southeast (东南分区)

山猫 shānmāo = “bobcat” = Charlotte Bobcats

老鹰 lǎoyīng = “hawk” = Atlanta Hawks

热火 rèhuǒ = “hot fire” = Miami Heat

魔术 móshù = “magic” = Orlando Magic

奇才 qícái = “prodigy,” “marvel” = Washington Wizards

Central (中英分区)

雄鹿 xiónglù = “buck” = Milwaukee Bucks

公牛 gōngniú = “bull” = Chicago Bulls

骑士 qíshì = “knight,” “cavalier” = Cleveland Cavaliers

步行者 bùxíngzhě = “walker,” “pedestrian” = Indiana Pacers

活塞 huósāi = “piston” = Detroit Pistons

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