Women’s Basketball’s Steeves Wraps Up Chinese Trip in Beijing

Women’s Basketball’s Steeves Wraps Up Chinese Trip in Beijing

Brown University women's basketball rising junior Erika Steeves is taking a 23-day trip from June 13 to July 5 throughout China where she will explore the market for amateur and professional basketball in China through a Brown Royce Sport and Society Fellowship. Steeves is making stops in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Jinan, and Beijing and will chronicle her adventures through her blog, Creating a Market for Sport in China. BrownBears.com will feature excerpts from her blog throughout her journey.

BLOG POST IX: July 1, 2017: "Xiaoshu"

"The area that I'm staying in is absolutely amazing, and I've been able to fully immerse myself in the city. It's called the Dashilan District and I'm happy to report that I got approval from my tour guide about my choice of location, as he said it's 'not touristy at all. Very Chinese culture.' I could spend hours strolling around the streets surrounding my hostel, and in fact have done just so. …

The first thing on my agenda for Thursday was a lunch meeting with an American lawyer. He had played professional basketball in Hong Kong for 10 years, and is the author of a number of interesting articles about sports in China that were luckily forwarded along to me. He happened to be one of the first of many cold emails I've sent out for this project, since I had a feeling that his perspective could be very valuable to my interests, a feeling which turned out to be accurate. We talked about a wide variety of topics, including the difference between playing in China and in the US, the current administration's involvement in sports, and the optimistic future of basketball in the country.

We also discussed the wealth that flows around the sports market amongst Chinese businessmen, the latter having very little training in sports management. This conversation eventually led us to the topic of my future career goals. While I'm still unsure of the professional route I will take, this trip has opened my eyes to the world of international relations in sports, or rather how easily the two can be combined, and it's a path that I might interested in pursuing. …"

BLOG POST X: July 4, 2017: "Last Days in China"

"The past three days in Beijing, which happen to be my last three days in China, have been filled with a combination of walking, tourism, research, degustation, meeting new people, and melancholy. The latter can be explained by the simple fact that I am nearing the end of my time in this country. However, I've been trying not to think about that and instead focus on having the best few days possible. …

… I had two meetings the following day, included the much-anticipated interview with NBA China CEO David Shoemaker. We discussed things such as the role of government in business, the marketing strategy and success of the NBA, Yao Ming's impact, the most favored teams by Chinese fans, the search for talent, the league's merchandising, and finally the decisions that led Shoemaker to China. Before leaving, he praised my newfound interview talents, so I gave my journalist mother a quick shout-out and mentioned that she had taught me well. He also mentioned that he would be keeping tabs on the Brown women's basketball team next year, so pressure is on girls! …"

BLOG POST XI: July 6, 2017: "Recap"

"I am officially back in Canada as of late last night! Because of a slight delay in my flight from Beijing to Toronto, I missed my tight connection to Montreal but eventually made it home, only a few hours later than initially planned. …

While I may forget to recount a few important aspects of my trip, I'm hopeful that people have, through these blog posts, come to understand the incredible experience that China offered me. I arrived with an idea of what I wanted to research, but I left with so much more information than I could have hoped for. While my main focus was basketball in China, I also learned a lot about the potential of the market, its benefits and its drawbacks for international companies, as well as the culture that is so vital to the Chinese business world. … 

I'm extremely proud of the past month of my life, and I'm thankful to have had the supporting staff to make this trip possible. My adventures in China have unfortunately yet successfully come to an end, so while it is goodbye for now, who knows when I will be going back across the world and re-activating this blog!"