The Shanghai Dongfang Sharks are a men’s professional basketball team in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), based in Shanghai, China. They play out of the Pudong Yuanshen Gymnasium and their mascot is a Shark. The Sharks are well known outside China as the club that developed Yao Ming before he entered the National Basketball Association (NBA).
With Yao Ming the Sharks made the finals three years in a row (in 1999–2000, 2000–2001, 2001–2002), facing the Bayi Rockets each time. They were runners-up the first two years, but won the 2002 CBA championship for the first time on their third try, snapping a string of six Bayi Rockets championships in a row. Yao was a key player on the team in those years.
In 2009, Chinese media reported that Yao had stepped in to purchase the team after The team faced serious financial issues in the 2008–09 season, and were in danger of not being able to compete in the 2009–10 season.