The Shanghai Sharks, current team of former NBA players Eric Bledsoe and Michael Beasley, have been disqualified from the Chinese league after fixing a playoff game.
The Dragons were leading 100-96 with less than two minutes to go and they then committed five consecutive turnovers, leading to a 10-0 run from the Sharks, who won 108-104.
It allowed the Sharks to clinch the series 2-1 and reach the quarter-finals.
The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) conducted an investigation into the Sharks and Dragons alleged game-fixing and punishments were handed down.
Both teams have been disqualified, with their 2022-23 season standings erased and fined five million yuan ($727,135).
The Shanghai coach received a five-year ban, while the Jiangsu coach received a three-year ban and the officials also received lengthy bans.
Shanghai issued a statement expressing its “deep regret for the negative impact caused by the incident on the long-time fans of the sport, and society as a whole.”
President of the Chinese Basketball Association Yao Ming said it damaged the league’s reputation.
“This has been a somber weekend,” he said. “Both clubs have a long history and had offered the league milestone figures.
“For sports competitions, credibility is the most important thing instead of ability. Our lesson is profound and we need to change something through this incident to make the cost already paid worthwhile.”
The Sharks have several players with NBA experience including Beasley, Bledsoe, Johnny O’Bryant, and Jamaal Franklin and Bledsoe had a rather blunt response to the situation on Twitter.
I was suspended and couldn’t play fam stop acting weird https://t.co/k9RyhfV3Mc
— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) April 17, 2023
Antonio Blakeney is the only player with NBA experience on the Dragons, but some players have played Summer League in the past.