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Jeremy Lin, Lance Stephenson, other NBA players return to China for restart of league

2019/2020 CBA League - Beijing Ducks v Xinjiang Yilite

BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 25: Jeremy Lin #7 of Beijing Ducks in action during 2019/2020 CBA League - Beijing Ducks v Xinjiang Yilite at Beijing Wukesong Sport Arena on December 25, 2019 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

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China may have been the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic, but it has gone days without a new case, having gotten control of the outbreak. Life in that nation is reportedly starting to return to normal.

That means restarting the Chinese Basketball Association season, which stopped play two months ago.

United States-based players were called back recently, and while there was some hesitation at first, many have returned. That starts with Jeremy Lin, who posted about it on Instagram.

He is far from alone, Kevin Wang reports for ESPN.

As of now, among those who have returned to China are Lin, Ty Lawson, Donatas Motiejunas, Sonny Weems, Kyle Fogg, Pooh Jeter, Marko Todorovic, Antonio Blakeney and Ekpe Udoh. More are expected to return in coming days...

Lance Stephenson, who is in his first CBA stint with Liaoning, has indicated he will return. “Ready,” he posted on Weibo with a video highlight of himself from earlier in the season.

That’s good news for the players in the CBA, who saw their paychecks stop when the league stopped.

It’s impossible to draw a straight line from the return of the CBA and the potential timing of a return for the NBA — different nation, different culture, different handling of the outbreak. As NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said this week, nobody with the NBA has any idea when games will return and in what form.

At least people are getting back to playing basketball somewhere. That is a reason for hope.