A former martial arts champion, an international film star and a Red Cross ambassador, Jet Li is currently focused on his newest project, the One Foundation. The One Foundation aims to help victims of natural disasters as well as children affected by mental illnesses. Li's foundation follows the philosophy that "1 person + 1 dollar + 1 month = 1 big family." To help promote the One Foundation, Li has teamed up with the NBA. In an exclusive interview with NBA.com's Mo Wang, Li discussed the importance of helping others.


NBA.com/China: What was your original intention when you decided to establish the One Foundation?
Jet Li: After we narrowly escaped the Tsunami, I thought about establishing a foundation where by donating one dollar each month we could actually create great resources to help others.

It took two years to create the foundation. During that time I visited a lot of charities and foundations, especially those in third world countries. There are a lot of foundations in China but most of them are only concerned with the "hardware" part, for example building new schools. With the economy growing faster than ever there aren't many foundations concerning the psychiatric well being of children. With the help of the Red Cross China, I established the One Foundation which helps fund the Red Cross's youth ministry.

In China there are about 30 million children who need psychiatric help. This is our main goal but we also help those who have been victims of natural disasters.

NBA.com/China: How do you relate the One Foundation with the NBA in terms of charity support?
Jet Li: I always watched NBA games when I was in the United States. I noticed that every team did charity work in their respective cities. For instance, I saw a lot of touching scenes of teams visiting old age homes, schools and so on. What I like most about the NBA is that they always have a "never give up" mentality.

As an athlete, I know the process of working hard in pursuit to being the best. I understand that there are 82 games of sweat and physical play, plus injuries and mental struggles. However that is only what we see in front of the cameras, their on court performance.

I am very glad that my very young (established six months ago) foundation teamed up with the NBA because the NBA has been very successful in terms of their involvement in charity worldwide. Not only does the NBA organization itself support charities but every team does as well. There are many retired and current players volunteering and I know after my quick research that there are more than 300 charities that the NBA supports.

I believe regardless of whether or not the players are currently playing professionally, they are still giving back to the community, which is similar to the One Foundation. There are no boundaries. Irrespective of political opinion, religion, ethnicity, culture, and age, we all live on the same globe and we are all family. And we must share civic responsibilities as well as our love.

In China there are billions of NBA and celebrity fans. If all those public figures can contribute to charity work, the next generation will receive a positive message on giving back when you are successful. And this is what drives the partnership between the NBA and the One Foundation. We should not only see a player making millions of dollars in salary but we should also see how they are actual giving back. Therefore the message of responsibility, love and care will be delivered. Eventually I hope the One Foundation will reach Chinese people from all over the world and hopefully they will all participate.

NBA.com/China: Have you watched Yao or Yi play in the NBA?
Jet Li : They are great, especially Yao, Yao allowed many foreigners to better understand China. He educated the world about Chinese culture. Yao is not only a basketball star, his charm and personality brings a good spirit to people. I wish there to be more outstanding players like Yao in the NBA.

NBA.com/China: What's does the One Foundation and the NBA have planned for the future?
Jet Li: I hope our relationship with the NBA is long term. The actual planning is still in the works. We will move forward step-by-step. The NBA wasn't well known 10 plus years ago (in China), now it has a huge following. I wish to use the NBA as a platform to spread the concepts of love and care to our fellow Chinese people.

Lastly, Li would like to say hi to everyone on NBA.com/China and reaffirm the One Foundation's message which is "we are family".