By Drew Radford
Sport is often touted as a common global language – a pursuit, a passion, a past time that transcends boarders and cultures.
It’s fitting then that a basketball match helped open South Australia’s latest trade mission to China celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Shandong-South Australia sister-state relationship.
And it was the Adelaide 36ers featuring on centre court against Chinese team Shandong HiSpeed.
It was the final of a four game series and the Adelaide 36ers turned on a great exhibition to win by 20 points to take out the series by three games.
But this series wasn’t all about winning. It was about broadening the sister-state relationship between South Australia and Shandong.
Adelaide 36ers CEO Guy Hedderwick says it’s a huge opportunity.
“The China Basketball Association is very strong. China has over 1.5 billion people and this is our opportunity to be the gateway to Asia for a number of NBL clubs,” he said.
And South Australia is ahead of the game as the National Basketball League looks to include a Chinese team by 2018.
The series culminated in the signing of a sister-club relationship between the two teams that will enable the exchange of players and knowledge.
It was only recently that the China Basketball Association introduced entertainment in game breaks, something other national basketball leagues around the world have had for decades.
It’s easy to see why the Australian National Basketball League is keen to build relationships in China – South Australia though is already ahead of the game with its own agreement!
Drew Radford speaks with Guy Hedderwick and South Australia’s Minister for Recreation and Sport, Leon Bignell. Listen here