Professional basketball is a pretty big deal in China, and public courts filled with college-aged kids can be found in pretty much every city in the country. Though it’s a somewhat recent cultural phenomenon — basketball only really took off in popularity with the success of Yao Ming, who played in the NBA from 2002-2011 — it’s undoubtedly set roots in the fabric of young, urban China today.
Enter Born With Nothing, Equalize With Everything (无中生有, literally “to create something out of nothing”), a new original web series by production company Equalizer. In a WeChat post about the series, Equalizer describes itself as an “independent organization that focuses on the culture of Chinese youth sports,” as well as a “platform for dream catchers.” Its 40-minute pilot takes hoop dreams as its theme.
The narrative opens on the Dongdan Elite, a street ball team named after a neighborhood in central Beijing, who are seen taking in one last meal of Peking Duck in a traditional courtyard before traveling to New York’s famed Dyckman Park courts to face off against a local team. They’re joined in this journey by Beijing rapper J-Fever, who kicks off the proceedings with a two-minute track framing the story in fairly epic terms:
We rushed from the East to light a fire / So that the torch of the Statue of Liberty continues to illuminate where the sun does not shine … The Earth is a ball, what’s real? / Here’s the answer: You have arrived at the next station, Dyckman.
Watch the full episode (with English subs) below, and be sure to stick around for Shanghai artist ChaCha‘s track in the end credits:
And if you want to pick up a bit of Chinese street ball slang, this recent guide from The World of Chinese is the best place to start. You’ll be dishing hotpot to your chicken-thieving foes in no time.
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“Aren’t You Bored?” Rapper J-Fever on Redefining his Craft
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