Big Game, Small World
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PHOTO BY: BILL FRAKESIn the middle of my year on the road I spent two hours in Shanghai with Bai Jinshen, a whiskered former coach of the Chinese national team. This basketball wise man spun out truths that resonated in his homeland and beyond, and I decided to use his remarks as a tonesetter for the travelogue to follow.

My interpreter, Huang Yong, did a wonderful job of following Mr. Bai’s logical movements and relating them to me. Though he’s Chinese, Huang attended high school in the Bay Area, and both his patience and affection for the game made him an indispensable companion.

There really is a basketball court at the edge of Beijing’s Forbidden City. It’s pictured here with the author trying his best to play a one-man zone.


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