Monday, February 20, 2012

James Fallows on Jeremy Lin, in which he links to my Stephon Marbury video from 2010

I'm of the opinion that James Fallows is still one of the best China correspondents out there, even though he's been off the China beat for a while (I might be biased -- he does, after all, have his own tag on this blog). This comes slightly belated (from last Wednesday):

But let's go to the videos! It happens that there is a test case available: the millions of actual Asian people who play basketball -- it's very popular throughout the region -- and the thousands who have played in professional or semi-pro leagues in China itself. These are real living-in-Asia Asians, without the diluting effect the immigrant experience might have brought to their "philosophical heritage." Overall do they play ball in a way the sociologists might predict?

Unt-uh. Here's one video, of the Dongguan Leopards playing at Shanxi Zhongyu, in a Chinese league. This features Stephon Marbury playing for Shanxi, one of a steady trickle of NBA stars who extend their careers with a contract in China. The first minute or so is the local equivalent of dancing Laker-girls. Some of the rest features crowd agitation, yelling at refs, general tumult, and some basketball. Virtually none of it fits with treatises on Asian "philosophical heritage" -- even though nearly every person you see on screen (apart from Marbury and a few other foreign players) is theoretically part of this tradition.

Here's the video from a couple years back:

Fallows then found himself in an email spat with the Hidden Harmonies blog's melektaus, who -- I think it's safe to say -- isn't a fan.

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