Experiencing the Basketball Game That the World Watched
Here I am at the most thrilling basketball game ever played.
It’s day three in Beijing and last night’s basketball game, (America — known as the “Redeem Team” — vs. China) has electrified the air. It was China’s biggest basketball match imaginable!
Before the game, LeBron James said “I expect it to be electrified. It’s probably going to be the most watched game in the history of the world. It’s going to send a lot of chills through my body just to be there and to be part of it.”
SHANGHAI, CHINA – AUGUST 05: LeBron James #6 of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team dunks during the USA Basketball International Challenge exhibition game against the Australia National Team at the Qizhong Arena on August 5, 2008 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by MN Chan/Getty Images)
I was very lucky to go to the game and experience it with the rest of the 18,000 basketball fans. It’s worth noting here that most of the fans were cheering for the underdog – China.
Photographers Gareth Cattermole and Chris Hyde at the basketball game.
I went to the game with a few of our photographers and we all struggled to find a spot to stand in, let alone sit. We were constantly moved about and our all-access pass didn’t find any of us a seat. So we wandered around the media circle and found a space by the barrier, halfway up the stadium.
Former president George W. Bush was in town, along with Bill Gates. I would have never been able to spot them but the photographers I was with (Gareth Cattermole and Chris Hyde) clearly see the world differently. They have this amazing ability to pick people out of the crowd. This is why they are the photographers – amazing ones at that – and I stick to the desk job.
The game was cited as drawing the biggest global television audience in basketball history – an estimated one billion viewers tuned in.
HANGZHOU, CHINA – JULY 17: (CHINA OUT) Yao Ming of China shoots during a match between China and Serbia at the 2008 Stankovic Continental Champions Cup on July 17, 2008 in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province, China. Ming plays also for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the U.S. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
China got off to a great start and proved that they were definitely going to be contenders for a medal. The Chinese crowd would frequently shout out the well-known Chinese sporting chant, “Jiayou” or “add oil” to their team, encouraging them to keep the momentum going. But the experience of the US team paid off in the end and the US won 107-70 – a respectable score for the host nation against the world’s best.
SHANGHAI, CHINA – AUGUST 03: Kobe Bryant #10 of the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team dribbles against the Russian National Team during the USA Basketball International Challenge exhibition game at the Qizhong Arena on August 3, 2008 in Shanghai, China.
It took us an hour to get out of the stadium and it was a long journey back to the media village in torrential rain (that didn’t stop until early this morning). But it was worth the walk in the rain – it was an incredible evening and a privilege to see live!