February 19, 2012

Granted, Mr Lin’s own path to stardom is in itself unprecedented, but in America, the unprecedented is possible. Chinese basketball fans have taken note of this. Mr Lin’s story may be a great and inspiring proof of athleticism to the Chinese people, but it is also unavoidably a story of American soft power.

If Mr. Xi can appear at ease in the informal atmosphere of a Lakers game, he may succeed where Mr. Hu failed in establishing a more friendly image in the U.S. to help counterbalance perceptions among many Americans of China as a military and commercial adversary.

Odeke and three other Ugandan basketball coaches were part of a delegation visiting UCLA on the back end of a cultural exchange tour of the United States that included a stop at the Basketball Hall of Fame ...The U.S. State Department helped fund the project, which was conceived by Texas Tech sports science professor Jens Omli, the trip's promoter and the founder of International Sport Connection.

“The basketball games are incidental [to] this,” said Cooley. “It’s the cultural exchange.” In each of the previous cities, the Nanyang Model High team stayed with host families. Along with private training sessions and games, the team has mixed in plenty of sightseeing, including Niagara Falls, Smithsonian museums, and D.C. monuments.

Former Chinese basketball star and NBA player Yao Ming is named vice-chairman of Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association on Monday. As the association's "Honor Ambassador", Yao accepts he will do some "tangible work" to introduce his home city to more people by sharing his eight-year experience of living in the U.S.

For the first time in its history, U.S. Embassy Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo took part in the SportsUnited Sports Envoy program....NBA representative Chris Clunie spent August 25-31 teaching over 250 Congolese youth basketball skills, as well as the importance of working together, open communication, and building a sense of self and community-awareness.

Former track star Marion Jones is making a series of diplomatic visits to Serbia and Croatia this week on behalf of the U.S. State Department, an international opportunity for her to continue rehabilitating her tarnished image.

While one basketball team was touring China this summer, former Georgetown University men's and women's basketball players joined together with the United States Embassy in Montenegro to bring the Fourth Annual Basketball Diplomacy program to underprivileged youth in the Balkans.