NBA Stars John Wall and Dwight Howard Try to Speak Chinese

Well, sort of. But their mangled Mandarin is still music to the ears of their fans in China.
yaokobebanner.jpgChina's Yao Ming enjoyed a successful NBA career until injuries forced his retirement in 2011. (Richard Carson/Reuters)

The NBA is a big, big deal in China, where the success of former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming triggered a surge of interest in basketball. Even two years after injuries forced the 7 foot 6 Yao to retire, Chinese fans continue to follow the league with intense interest. Meanwhile, China's own professional basketball league has lured once-marquee players like Stephon Marbury and Tracy McGrady to the Middle Kingdom. 

Basketball players aren't paid for their linguistic chops, but that doesn't stop the more adventurous of them from trying. In this video, the Chinese ex-NBA player Yi Jianlian "interviews" John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Dwight Howard of the (for now) Los Angeles Lakers and the results, well, speak for themselves.



Relativity Sports

How'd they do? Well, let's just say that when Wall and Howard visit China this summer, they're going to need interpreters. Nevertheless, as any foreigner who has gone to China could tell them, they'll get points just for trying. If only the same was true of basketball.

Matt Schiavenza is a contributing writer for The Atlantic. He is a former global-affairs writer for the International Business Times and Atlantic senior associate editor.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

Video

Is Minneapolis the Best City in America?

No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well.

More in China

Just In