There are known hazards for NBA players considering playing a year in China: they might not let you out of your contract if the lockout ends, and you could always get hurt, like Michael Beasley apparently did on Monday. But one of the things they don't tell you about is the omnipresent clouds of smoke that hover over everything, even the basketball courts. Three-quarters of Chinese men smoke, and you can do it pretty much anywhere that's not a hospital. The country had to put a temporary indoor smoking ban in place for the Olympics. But the Olympics are long gone, so the Chinese are free to visit flavor country while taking in the International Basketball Cup, an eight-team club tournament.
Beasley fractured his wrist on Monday, but he and Paul Pierce sat out of the game the day before with an unexpected malady: asthma attacks. From NiuBBall.com, translating from a Chinese news site:
While playing in Shuangyashan, Heilongjiang province… Pierce and Beasley both suffered asthma attacks due to large amounts of fans smoking cigarettes inside the stadium. After the game, things got even more shocking when Beasley fell to the floor in his hotel and started to roll around in obvious pain, scaring everyone around half-to-death. At that point, there was no choice but to dial 120 (the number for an ambulance in China) and take him to the hospital.
We think they're conflating the hospital visit with his wrist injury the next day, but there's no doubt the smoke was a factor. On their blog, an Australian team taking part in the tourney noted the playing conditions were less than ideal:
Once again tonight we arrived to a smoke hazed packed stadium, it appears the "dangers of smoking memo" is yet to make its way to the Far East.