As my time in China comes to a close, I wanted to update all of you on the status of my trip to visit with Aaron Brooks. Tonight in Beijing I attended Aaron’s last playoff game of the season where his team, The Guangdong Southern Tigers, lost 124 – 121 to the Beijing Ducks. It was quite an experience to sit in the midst of the Tiger fans and observe them cheering and celebrating their team’s first Chinese Basketball Association title. The energy was truly electric, both inside and outside the Arena.
Since arriving in the City of Beijing I’ve been fortunate to have two people act as my guides (one for basketball games and one for the city) and they’ve made all the difference in my trip. Most people don’t speak English, so trying to navigate around a city of over 20 million people with no help would have been virtually impossible. As a side note, Beijing is 15 hours ahead of Phoenix time, so my days and nights have been backwards for much of the trip. For example, it is after 11 p.m. at night (Friday) as I write this and it’s early morning (Friday) in Phoenix.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time talking with Aaron during the trip. Tuesday evening I saw him at practice and that night we had a long dinner. Wednesday I saw Aaron’s Game 4, which turned out to be a loss. Yesterday, Thursday, we met at his hotel before his team practice, and tonight I am scheduled to have dinner with him and his family before he heads back to his home city, Dongguan, tomorrow (Saturday) and I head back to the U.S.
During our time together, Aaron made it clear to me that he has enjoyed his experience here in China. From my point of view, he is quite the world traveler, in that he is knowledgeable about the nuances of the culture and he seems to have adjusted quite well. Even with the positive experience, though, he is eager to get back home to the States, see his family and begin his off season training to prepare himself for a return to NBA.
During one of our conversations he told me that he likes the city of Phoenix and had a very good experience with our organization last season. Our dialogue was positive and candid. He’s followed the team closely all season long.
Our dinner tonight will cap off what’s been a successful trip. Like Aaron, I’m looking forward to getting back home.