John Calipari’s quest to make Kentucky Basketball an international brand continues. This week, Calipari is hosting three coaches from the Chinese National Team: Dave Wahl, Li Nan, and Limin Xu. After showing off some of the Mandarin he’s learned on his call-in show Monday night, Calipari opened up about the collaboration after the Texas A&M game.
“They called about coming over,” Cal said of the coaches. “When I was in Memphis, I brought probably 50 to 60 Chinese coaches over and worked a week, two weeks at a time. We kept one coach for an entire season, and the whole idea was to connect. I was hoping at some point to get a Chinese player, maybe from the United States, maybe from China, because you may not understand, their CCTV sports, 350 million people watch it. How many people do we have in our country? [350 million.] Okay. They are watching — that’s who is watching this sports stuff.”
Dave Wahl is in town with the Chinese national coaches. Men’s coach Li Nan and women’s coach Limin Xu are here all week. Our game is worldwide!!! pic.twitter.com/owCMRJajL9
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) January 7, 2019
Calipari has long expressed his desire to expand Kentucky’s brand to China (remember this poster?), recruiting there when he took the job in 2009 and keeping up relations with the Chinese Basketball Association. Last summer, Kentucky and JMI Sports announced that all games would be broadcast in Mandarin.
“To be that kind of program, worldwide, and I’d like it for this program the same. If we could get a Chinese player who would want to come here and can play here, [would] make me happy. And again, Coach Li has been over here like three times. This is his third time to be with us and Coach Shu is the women’s national team coach. Coach Li played for Dell Harris on the national team, he was the captain.”
So far, Cal’s quest seems to be working. One of my friends from Danville currently lives in China, and when he saw Calipari’s comments from last night, sent along these photos from a bar in Shanghai:
The next step in the Kentucky-China collaboration: the difference between bourbon and whiskey.