A Jr. NBA All-Star Leader Interview: Kris Wu Tells You How to Form Ties with Basketball

Feb. 27th, 2017

On Feb. 27th 2017, NBA China established Jr. NBA China Leadership Council to continuously support and promote youth basketball development in China. This leadership council will serve as a guidance and support source for Jr. NBA in China, hoping to attract more kids and young adults to experience basketball through Jr. NBA.

Jr. NBA is a youth basketball development program by NBA, in hope to elevate the participation rate of basketball amongst youth. Besides raising the basketball skills and coaching standards of players and coaches respectively, it also brings a sense of positive energy of joy through basketball.

During the All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, David Shoemaker, CEO of NBA China, and two leadership council member Kris Wu and Paul Pierce accepted an exclusive interview by Tencent Sports. The three shared their own basketball stories and basketball destiny.

Reason: Why Join the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council?

For Paul Pierce, even though this is the last season on the NBA court, the former Finals MVP have been connected to basketball for more than 30 years. Pierce said, he will continue to promote the sport of basketball after retirement, especially in China.

The near-40-years-old Pierce talked about the beginning of his basketball life. "I was about 8 or 9, with a lot of people playing the sport around me, my two brothers were playing. Compared with other sports, basketball was easier to get into; long as you have a ball, you can walk into a park or a court and play." Pierce also talked about his own idol that motivated him, "I grew up watching Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, I started having my own hoop dreams at the age of 9,"

For Kris, his ties with basketball came by "surprise". "I was a bit chubby at the age of 10, so my mom made me exercise to lose some weight, therefore I started playing basketball, and fell in love with it ever since." Kris Wu mentioned that Pierce was one of his idol growing up, and it's because of his play that made Kris himself love the game of basketball even more. The motivation that came from their personal heroes were tremendous. For this reason, both Kris and Pierce want to leverage their celebrity status and help more kids fall in love with the game of basketball.

Responsibilities: More Than Passing on Skills.

To become a professional player, the only goal isn't to play basketball.

Take Kris Wu for example, he didn't become a professional player, but basketball brought him happiness and confidence, which was an extremely important life lesson for him. As the only amateur player on the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council, Kris talked about his responsibility, "What I can do is bring energy to kids and young adults, tell them that basketball can change lives. Regardless of playing professionally or not, whether basketball is just a hobby, we can all learn something from this game, something that we can take with us to our own individual life and apply there."

Professional player Pierce couldn't agree more with Kris, "Basketball is very competitive, but fun at the same time. We can learn about teamwork, confidence, forgiveness through basketball. As a leader, we cannot just teach what goes on the court, it's more important for us to pass on life lessons and experiences."

Goals: Enrich Life and Enjoy Basketball!

As the CEO of NBA China, David Shoemaker is well aware the powerful influence that celebrities and NBA stars have on the youth of China. Besides Kris Wu and Paul Pierce, there are also 6 other stars in the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council. Including NBA Champion Harrison Barnes, 2-Time NBA Sportsmanship Award Winner Mike conley, Aaron Gordon, and 2-Time Slam Dunk Champion Zach Lavine, Fan-Favorite Jeremy Lin, and 2015-16 Most Improved Player C.J. McCollum.

As the CEO of NBA China, David Shoemaker is well aware the powerful influence that celebrities and NBA stars have on the youth of China. Besides Kris Wu and Paul Pierce, there are also 6 other stars in the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council. Including NBA Champion Harrison Barnes, 2-Time NBA Sportsmanship Award Winner Mike conley, Aaron Gordon, and 2-Time Slam Dunk Champion Zach Lavine, Fan-Favorite Jeremy Lin, and 2015-16 Most Improved Player C.J. McCollum.

David Shoemaker said, They will come to China during the offseason to conduct basketball camps and play basketball with kids and young adults. They also might visit schools to encourage and give advices to the future stars of China, to help them on their way to being professional players in the CBA or even NBA. He hopes that Jr. NBA Leadership Council can inspire a generation of kids, help them foster the love of basketball, regardless whether they wish to become professional or amateur players.

Kris Wu still remembers his childhood dream, "When I was 15 I also joined the Jr. NBA program, it was super fun. Jr. NBA allowed me to shine, gave me a platform to compete with other kids my age, I thought that was really cool." Kris Wu was his school's team captain and led his team to a South Regional Champion. He was very thankful to Jr. NBA for the opportunity, and hopes to influence more kids to enjoy basketball with his own influential power.

Pierce also talked about the joy of this program, "For the Jr. NBA leaders, what we can do is to come to China during the offseason, teach some skills to the kids and share some stories. for these kids, it would be a cool experience, I wish this program existed when I was a kid"

Actual Interview:

Tencent: First question is for Mr. Shoemaker. We talked about Jr. NBA in China just now, can you elaborate more on what is Jr. NBA and what's the Jr. NBA China Program?

David: Thanks for your questions, and also thank you for your coverage of the establishment of Jr. NBA China program during the All-Star Weekend. Jr. NBA keeps up with the global demand of participation of basketball. Our purpose is to let more kids in the world to play basketball, to enjoy the game, and to grasp the fundamental skills and rules of basketball. More important, it's for them to learn important life lessons during basketball, to elevate their leadership, teamwork, communication. And the Jr. NBA Leadership Council that was just announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend is to leverage the influential power of some KOLs, like Kris Wu, he's been playing since he was young and he's good too. And our basketball star, NBA legend, future hall-of-famer Paul Pierce, also gave us tremendous advice, especially on how to grow the sport in China. We are very happy to have Kris and Paul with us.

Tencent: Mr. Shoemaker is in great shape. Although I can't be certain, but I think he's played basketball when he was young. What i'm certain of is that Kris and Paul have both played. Next question is for you two gentlemen, when did you start playing basketball?

Paul: I started playing around the 4th grade, that was when I first started to like basketball. I was about 8 or 9, with a lot of people playing the sport around me, my two brothers were playing. Compared with other sports, basketball was easier to get into; long as you have a ball, you can walk into a park or a court and play. If you play baseball, you need a bat and gloves. If you play football, you need a helmet and other equipment. Basketball is easy, you just need a ball. MY friend had a ball, and we used to always go play at the park. Basketball is also pretty low in cost because there are courts everywhere, in the park, in elementary school, high schools, there were just outdoor courts everywhere. And through watching basketball, I fell in love with the way Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played. I started having my NBA dream since then. My NBA Dream started when I was 9.

Kris: I was around 10 when I started playing basketball, around 5th or 6th grade. Just like Paul, basketball was easier to get into I didn't need too many equipment. Also, I was a bit chubby, really. My mom said to me, Kris, you gotta exercise you're putting on some weight. I was like, sure, but what sports? That's when I started playing basketball. Once I started, I fell in love with it completely. When I was playing, Pierce was one of my idol, and he gave me a lot of motivation. Even though I'm not a professional player, but it didn't matter to me because basketball is a important life lesson, it teaches you about teamwork and confidence. Basketball is a sport that everyone can take part in and get a lot back.

Tencent: Kris, although you're not a professional player, but you've joined the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council alongside Pierce. As Jr. NBA leaders, what do you think your responsibilities are?

Paul: As a leader, we have to take the responsibility to lead, give these kids more advice and foster their skills from a young age, even if they don't become a professional player. At the same time, we have to let them understand the importance of enjoying basketball. That's right, basketball is competitive, but fun at the same time. You can learn about teamwork, confidence, forgiveness. As a teacher, we can't just teach what goes on the court, it's more important to share life lessons and experiences.

Kris: I'm not a professional player, so in terms of teaching skills, Pierce might have a heavier load. What I can do is bring energy to kids and young adults, tell them that basketball can change lives. Regardless of playing professionally or not, whether basketball is just a hobby, we can all learn something from this game, something that we can take with us to our own individual life and apply there. To me, more of my responsibility is to communicate with the kids.

Tencent: Couldn't agree more, kids need to learn more than just the physical aspect of basketball. From you guys' standpoint, what can the youth of China gain from this Jr. NBA China program?

David: In addition to Kris and Paul, there are 6 other NBA stars who have committed to join the Jr. NBA China Leadership Council. Harrison Barnes, Mike Conley, Aaron Gordon, Zach Lavine, C.J. McCollum, and Jeremy Lin. As part of that commitment, they're going to make a regular basis travel to China during the offseason, participate with us in clinics, to encourage the youth to play the game and have fun as Paul said, and help advice us on how to best do that. Presumably also come to our league training center, to help encourage the best players in China, how to train better, how to apply your skills in different way to perhaps pursue a career at the highest level, CBA or NBA in particular. That's how we think we can use the Jr. NBA leadership Council to inspire generations of youth to learn to love the game. Whether they become basketball players in the future, or whether they use the game of basketball to apply it to whatever life brings at them going forward.

Paul: A lot of benefits is you get people like myself and other players who are able to come to China during the offseason to give their expertise. When you have eyes at the highest level of the game, just give it back or trying to get them to understand how to get to the point where they're at, it makes it fun for the kids to be around that. How we're gonna help them participate the camps. NBA has a lot of stars like Jordan, Magic Johnson, players that they look up to. A lot of the kids look up to a lot of NBA players because the game is so global now. Everyone around the world follows and plays basketball, and it's not just the in the USA, Europe and all over the world as well. The game is continuosly growing, hopefully one day NBA can cover to China, Europe. For us to be able to give our expertise and share some of our thoughts and some of our stories to these kids when we're traveling during the offseason is gonna be a great experience. It's something I wish I got when I was a kid.

Kris: Completely covered it. I think this is a great platform. When I was 15, I was actually part of the Jr. NBA program and had a lot of fun. It gave me the chance to play the game and shine and have the platform where I can compete with other youth that at the same level, and just to have fun and enjoy the game. And obviously we had training, with professional players coming in and help us out. I think it just gives such a great platform to get a chance to know and play basketball and to enjoy the game.

Tencent: Final question for all you guys. How was your All-Star experience so far?

Paul: My all-star experience is always great. I had a chance to play in the all-star game 10 times. Now I'm here just as a visitor with my family enjoying the festivity and to see how far the all-star game has come with fans all over the world. You have fans from all over the world to come over to watch the game, it really shows that NBA is really expanding on the number of activities around the cities of where the all-star game is based such as youth camps, where players give advice. They also rebuild parks, schools. So it's really special. It's my last year before I retire, but most likely I will become an ambassador of the NBA, and hopefully a global ambassador.

Tencent: Kris, congratulations on winning the Celebrity All-Star Game yesterday

Paul: And the Most Well-Dressed

Kris: To me also it's been very fun for me. It's my second time playing in the celebrity game so I had a lot of fun. So many activities going on, to be able to be a part of it I feel very blessed and happy to be here.

David: I'd say this is what I like. The idea that, I can't overstate it, one of the greatest players to ever play the game, NBA champion, future hall-of-famer, Paul Pierce, who's got an incredibly difficult schedule with the Clippers; back-to-back games, road trips, etc. Takes some time out of his schedule to be here with us to be part of this announcement. Kris Wu, who's a globetrotter, his time is incredibly precious, one of the most popular people in the planet, spends the time to come here and to be part of this announcement and help us grow the game of basketball here in China. This is my highlight. Thank you, Paul. Thank you, Kris. I really appreciate it.

Tencent: Thank you very much

All Content above originated from

Tencent Sport

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Experience "All-Star Weekend" with Jr. NBA Players

Feb. 20th, 2017

New Orleans of February contains a strong spring vibe, breezy wind, and great temperature. It was the perfect time to start the "Jr. NBA All-Star Tour".

Before they stepped onto the court, the players got familiar with the city first. Mississippi River, Jefferson Square, Crescent City, World War II Museum, as well as the arena of the All-Star Game, the highlight of this trip. The city is filled with basketball atmosphere.

Once the players got over jet lag, the first task is complete dedication to Jr. NBA. The headline of the first day was the establishment of Jr. NBA China Leadership Council, celebrated by NBA China CEO David Shoemaker and one of the council members, Kris Wu. They even conducted a scrimmage with some coaches and 6 Jr. NBA players.

Kris Wu took on the role of Coach Wu.

Lastly, Shoemaker led Mingquan Zheng, Jeffery Wu, Zhaochen Wang, Yongjun Lin, Rongkai Nie, Tianyi Liu, and played against a team led by Kris Wu, J.T. Zhang, Yuyang Liu, Zhengtian Jin, Leyang Sun, Haoquan Wang, Ziqin Liu.

Signed Basketball by Kris Wu

After the press conference, 12 Jr. NBA players participated the "Fan Combine" basketball lesson alongside 200 American players. One world, one basketball dream. These basketball-loving youngsters interacted and shared their respective basketball culture.

8 NBA players even showed up to the lesson and conducted basketball lessons themselves, including "White Chocolate" Jason Williams. What's it like to receive a pass from White Chocolate?

Zig-zag dribbling, scoring, our players are showing up during the Skills Challenge.

During the Fan Combine, players compared their palm size with Kawhi Leonard, their wing span with Brittney Griner, and their vertical with Russell Westbrook.

On the second day, David Shoemaker and Kris Wu invited another superstar Paul Pierce to have a chat on the development of youth basketball. Their conversation sparked a relaxing atmosphere in the room.

Lastly, Pierce was surprised with a portrait presented to him. Even David Shoemaker couldn't resist to take a peek.

Our players were extremely excited to meet Paul Pierce!

The All-Star competition is the highlight of the weekend. Just take a look at all these signed basketball!

With the crowd showing up, who are you rooting for?

Jr. NBA players were extremely invested in the game!

Lastly, a picture to capture the memory forever.

Jr. NBA All-Star Tour have come to a close, we hope our players learned more on the authentic basketball culture through this trip, discovered their own hidden talent, and gained more happiness and positive energy through the sport of basketball.

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