Rockets On The Road... In China
Rockets' Brett Gunning checks in from the Far East with updates from NBA clinics in China
Aaron Brooks and Chase Budinger get ready to serve pizza and ice cream to a host of happy campers.
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Houston Rockets' Director of Player Development Brett Gunning is in China for the next couple weeks taking part in a pair of NBA clinics which will include the likes of Yao Ming, Dwight Howard and several other NBA stars. While abroad, Gunning will share his insight from the trip with daily blog posts, pictures, videos and more.
Tuesday, August 3rd - Homeward Bound
The final camp came to an end today in Beijing...was able to spend some great time with former NBA Champion AC Green...not only did he win 2 championships as a player, but he also holds the all-time record for most consecutive games played (1,192) in the NBA. He has a pretty cool connection with the Houston Rockets as well...his wife was a Rocket Power Dancer for eight years!
My trip comes to an end today as a fly back to the States in a few hours...it's truly been an amazing trip. Seeing another country, experiencing a different culture, being around such energetic and passionate kids made it very enjoyable. Many thanks to the NBA and the Houston Rockets Organization for providing me with such an incredible experience.
Thursday, July 29th
Shanghai is an amazing city! If you can believe it, the population is just under 20 million people...and to put that into perspective, the population of New York City is just under 10 million people. The camp here went great. I can now see where Yao gets his passion and work ethic from. The kids from Shanghai worked so hard and really had a great attitude...they were so coachable and really wanted to get better all week. They have an incredible love for the game of basketball, and they are huge Houston Rocket fans as well...they know all about our guys...Battier, Scola, Brooks, Martin, Ariza, Lowry...they kept asking me about all of them! Back to Beijing today for one more camp before heading home!
Tuesday, July 27th
Stopped by an Elementary School today in Shanghai with Aaron Brooks and Chase Budinger where they shot some baskets with the students, played some table tennis, and learned how to write calligraphy, all for a good cause with Project Hope and Uni-President. They also showed their skills later in the day making pizza and ice cream. Check out the pictures when you get the chance!
Sunday, July 25th
Last night in Beijing, Yao kicked off his 2010 Foundation Charity Tour. There was an incredible Celebrity Game that included two Houston Rocket Players: Aaron Brooks and Chase Budinger. Some other NBA players who played in the game as well were Steve Nash (Suns), Baron Davis (Clippers), Hasheem Thabeet Grizzlies), and Brandon Jennings (Bucks). Its incredible to see how much love there is for Yao in China. He truly is an inspiration to so many people. The next blog will include an update from Shanghai, where camp is going great!
Wednesday, July 21st
The first camp came to an end today...what an awesome couple of days. The campers were great to be around...so passionate, so energetic...it was very refreshing! They were so hungry to learn...they did whatever we asked them to do. At the end of camp, we had to select the six best campers who will now go on to represent Beijing in the Amway Nutrilite Jr. NBA Challenge...we will do the same thing in Shanghai next. Basically, the top players six from 4 cities ( Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taipei) will then compete against each other, with the winning team awarded a trip to the 2011 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles. Off to Shanghai later today...cant wait to get there...heard its the New York City of China!
Monday, July 19th: Hanging with Dwight
What an amazing day at camp today...got to spend most of it with Dwight Howard....hes a great guy, one who truly enjoys being around kids and giving back to the game of basketball. I learned one of his secrets as well...one of the ways that he stays so fit is that he does between 200-300 pushups a day. We were waiting back in a lounge area at one point during the day, and he dropped down to the floor and knocked out a quick set...he just tries to fit it in during the course of the day. He told me that Yao is one of his favorite players to go up against in the NBA...he has so much love and respect for Yao.
He was also laughing about how when the Orlando Magic played us this past season, he picked up two fouls in the first 22 seconds of the game (and he had to be subbed out)...he said that had to be the quickest substitution of all time. He also went on to remind me that he didnt miss a shot that game...he was right, he shot 11 for 11 and scored 30 points! It was really an enjoyable day...its great to spend time with guys like Dwight...people who are not only great at what they do, but also great people as well. Time for an authentic meal tonight...going to grab some Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen!
Sunday, July 18th: Beijing camp begins
First day of camp went great...the kids were so fired up. Its always refreshing to be around younger kids who are passionate about learning, and passionate about the game of basketball. I have an interpreter who has to communicate everything I say to the kids...its kind of strange, but were making the best of it. Im also starting to learn some Chinese...you should see the look in their faces when I yell out some Chinese phrases! I look forward to saying them to Yao the next time I see him...its going to surprise him as well....2 of my favorite phrases are: Lan-ban (Rebound!) and Fang-shou (Defense)! Tomorrow is going to be a great day...Dwight Howard and I are scheduled to give the kids two different clinics...ill try and send some pictures and video afterwards.
Saturday, July 17th: Beijing
Camp doesnt start until Sunday, so I got a chance to see some Beijing history today, including Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. I also got a chance to see Wukesong Olympic Arena, which was where the Redeem Team won the Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympic Games. It was a pretty amazing day for sure...theres so much history and culture in Beijing. Camp starts in the morning...im really looking forward to working with the young kids. Thats one of the great things about this trip...we are so blessed to be a part of the NBA, and to be able to give back and help younger players get better, its a great feeling. The camp that I will be a part of is called the Amway Nutrilite Junior NBA City Camp. Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic will be there as well (He is the NBA Ambassador for the camp). Should be a great time! Ill let you know how the first day of camp went in my next entry.
Friday, July 16th: Arrival
Arrived in Beijing after a smooth 12-hour flight from San Francisco. I couldnt read one more page from my book, watch another movie, or listen to another song...it was time to get off the plane for sure. First stop was right to the NBA China Office in Beijing. What was amazing was that there were over 100 people still working in the office at 6pm on a Friday evening...thats why the NBA is such a class operation! One of the first people I met in the office was a die-hard Houston Rockets fan who had grown up in Katy, Texas. He now works in the Investments and Operations Department for NBA China (he had a huge poster of Luis Scola above his desk)! I got a chance to meet a lot of great people who obviously have a great deal of pride in working for the NBA. Off to check-in to the hotel and enjoy some dinner.