On May 31, Lay Zhang, formerly of K-pop boy band Exo, released a new track titled ‘Time To Shine.’ Created in collaboration with former Golden State Warriors player Nick Young, the song celebrates the 75th anniversary of the NBA.
Basketball and pop fans across China were quick to show their support.
🎵New song〈Time To Shine〉with my bro @NickSwagyPYoung.🔥🏀Tribute to the 75th anniversary of NBA. Tribute to love with love. #NBA pic.twitter.com/Rs5kTfAQWq— Lay Zhang (@layzhang) May 31, 2022
🎵New song〈Time To Shine〉with my bro @NickSwagyPYoung.🔥🏀Tribute to the 75th anniversary of NBA. Tribute to love with love. #NBA pic.twitter.com/Rs5kTfAQWq
— Lay Zhang (@layzhang) May 31, 2022
The song’s bilingual lyrics express Young and Zhang’s love and admiration of the NBA and basketball athletes. In the music video, their rapping is juxtaposed with images and videos of famous NBA players like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, and Steph Curry.
To be brutally honest, parts of the lyrics — such as “I consist with the alley-oop boy that’s assist” or “Pass me the rock we got lay for the shot” — lean towards cringey.
Nonetheless, fans have been ecstatic about the release dedicated to the NBA’s anniversary. Not only has the video been viewed 4 million times on Weibo, but its hashtag has also gained 150 million views in under 24 hours.
Chinese netizens have heaped praise on the new song and uploaded pictures of their favorite stars. Unsurprisingly, the viral meme of Nick Young looking confused has begun to circulate on the internet again.
“What a cool song! I can’t stop listening to it,” wrote a fan.
Another opined, “I particularly like this line: That’s my time to shine.”
A meme of Nick Young looking confused
Taiwanese-American professional basketball player Jeremy Lin has also expressed his support by resharing Zhang’s post with the caption, “I’ll play your song on a loop while I’m training! Let’s play basketball together next time when we meet!”
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Not only does the NBA enjoy huge popularity in China, but players like Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin are also considered god-like by Chinese sports fans. Young, too, captured the hearts of Chinese audiences since winning a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2018.
After leaving Exo and returning to the Chinese mainland, Zhang has become a mega pop star in China. Since making his solo debut in 2017, the musician has produced hit albums like Namanana and appeared on popular Chinese TV shows like Street Dance of China. As of 2021, he was ranked sixth on the Forbes China celebrity list.
Screenshot of Lay Zhang in the ‘Time To Shine’ music video
This is not the first time an NBA player has collaborated with a Chinese rapper. In 2020, Sichuanese rapper Vava teamed up with current Denver Nuggets player Aaron Gordon to put out ‘Ganbei,’ meaning ‘cheers’ in English.
Listen to Lay and Young’s collaboration on Spotify, QQ Music, Apple Music, or Deezer.
All images via Weibo
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