I can’t even begin to put into words how awesome these first three days of camp have been. For starters, I was shooting around during lunch time yesterday when a NBA coach came up to me and casually started showing me some of his go-to post moves. I later found out that not only did those post-moves serve him well for six years in the NBA, but also that he’s a legend in the basketball world. Today, most camp coaches played against each other instead of heading to lunch, while some of the NBA players worked out with their respective league coaches. I’ve therefore certainly witnessed some great basketball in the first days of camp, even at lunch time.
I am happy to report that I can officially start incorporating sports into my blog posts, since I’ve been at the NBA’s Asia Pacific Team Camp for two days now! I got to Hangzhou, where the camp is being held, on Friday following my first trip on a Chinese bullet train. I’d like to say that the ride went smoothly, but I’ll admit that I got slightly lost, as well as bothered a lot of people with my cumbersome suitcase. I’ll also be the first to say that the train’s speed upwards of 300 km/h wasn’t very relaxing. I therefore have a tip to anyone that will be going to the Shanghai Hongqiao train station in the near future: if your ticket tells you to arrive 1h30 ahead of the scheduled train departure time, follow those instructions. Not only is it the biggest train station I’ve ever seen, but the lines are also extremely long to pick up a ticket without a Chinese ID.
I arrived in Shanghai on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon, after an uneventful 13-hour flight. I had previously looked up the word “tall” in Mandarin, because I figured it would be useful for me to recognize. Sure enough, the first mention of my height came within ten minutes of me stepping foot on Chinese soil, and have since been quite frequent.
Good evening from Shanghai!
Unfortunately, my apartment’s wifi isn’t working at the moment so I won’t be able to post for the next couple of days. I apologize to anyone who has been checking this page looking for an update, but details about the Shanghai leg of my trip will be posted Friday! I can however give you a preview: this city is amazing.
晚上好, Good evening!
The countdown is now at 20 hours – I fly out on a direct flight from Montreal to Shanghai mid-day tomorrow! I’m spending my final day in Montreal doing last-minute preparations, and organizing different interviews for my time in Shanghai and Beijing. As I mentioned in my previous post, I just spent a few days in New York City for some meetings, and I’m happy to report that they went really well. I got a tour of the NBA offices and met the personnel from the International Business Operations team that I will be working with at the camp in Hangzhou. They were all extremely welcoming, and I’m so excited to be working with them! I was fascinated to hear more about the NBA’s growing international presence, as well as their ability to have an impact in a variety of different markets. The latter aspect of the league is especially intriguing to me, since it is safe to say that while it is a global sport, there are differences in the game between countries. I’m excited to get to China to learn even more about basketball in the country, as well as explore the ways that different entities, including the NBA and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), have worked to improve the game in recent years.
Welcome to the beginning of my Chinese adventure. The countdown is now at 9 days, and I couldn’t be more excited. As of yesterday, I am finally the owner of a Chinese visa for travel, so I figured it was only fitting that I write my first blog post. I say finally because I had numerous visits to both the passport and visa offices in Montreal that easily could have been avoided if I had realized earlier that my passport picture was slightly water-damaged. Following an initial moment of panic considering the short time crunch I was in, I would argue that I passed my first challenge with (somewhat) flying colors. I can now officially say that I will be traveling to Mainland China from June 12th to July 5th, with stops in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Jinan, and Beijing.