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National basketball revamp must first address key issues

Earlier last month, the first-ever national basketball meeting was held in Taipei, presided over by Premier Sean Chen and joined by a total of three hundred younger and older Taiwanese hoops players.

The meeting, featuring high-ranking government officials and local basketball heavyweights, was held in the hope of boosting the development of the sport locally and cultivating future hoops talents like Jeremy Lin, the first-ever Taiwanese-American National Basketball Association (NBA) player.

During his address, Premier Chen called himself a hard-core hoops fan, wearing a Michael Jordan T-shirt to serve as proof of his genuine love for the sport.

The 62-year-old Chen said he's enjoyed playing basketball since his youth and he was forced to retire from the court at the age of 55 after suffering multiple injuries on many parts of his body.

At the meeting, the premier pledged that the ruling administration will be spending a total of NT$1 billion over the following fours years to promote basketball island-wide and nurturing younger players so that some of them may one day become as good as Lin and play in the NBA.

Among the NT$1 billion budget, NT$800 million will go toward building basketball courts and stadiums around the country, while another NT$200 million will be used to cultivate talents from the bottom-up, the premier said.

The huge budget will be allocated to showcase the government's determination to revive the sport in Taiwan, he noted.

The China Post would like to give credit to Chen and the ruling administration for hosting such an unprecedented event and for pledging to spend a fortune to boost the sport locally, which is one of the most popular sports in Taiwan.

Yet even though baseball has remained the most-watched sport in Taiwan and is largely seen as the country's national pastime, basketball only slightly ahead of baseball.

It is a great sign that the government is taking long-awaited action to promote basketball, even though the timing of such an initiative only came after Lin — whose parents are from Taiwan — became a household name.

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