A Qualitative Study Exploring the Migratory Push-Pull Factors of American Basketball Players Playing in the Chinese Basketball Association

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This qualitative study examined and analyzed the migration factors that influenced professional American basketball players to move and compete in China, specifically the push-pull factors that contributed to their migration to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Although basketball is a well-studied and highly popular sport, the CBA is one of the least studied professional leagues in terms of sports migration theory research, yet has a sizable international labor force, especially American basketball players. This study was built upon the theoretical framework of previously researched sports labor migration, which assisted the data analysis process. The sample of this study included ten professional American basketball players who played in the CBA during the 2017-2018 season, many of whom have played in the NBA. This qualitative research used in-person, semi-structured interviews, with questions focused on the push-pull factors, such as the reasons to why they migrated to China and their experiences playing in the CBA. Based on the results of this study, the data uncovered some major trends: firstly, American basketball players leave the U.S. because of lack of playing opportunities, secondly, China has a desirable competition league for American basketball players, along with substantial financial gains, thirdly, the structure of the league, primarily the season length, proved to be a great pull factor for the CBA, and lastly, the CBA still can improve as it considers expanding and adding more teams.



globalization, sports labor migration, basketball, push-pull factors, globalization, sports labor migration, basketball, push-pull factors