Hoops in China

From Hoop City, from Time:

may not yet be China’s most popular sport, but it’s getting there. The public courts in Shanghai and Beijing are more crowded than ever now. Show up at a court on a fine Saturday morning in the spring and you can wait for an hour or more to get in a game.

That’s what Zhou Qiang was doing this past April, at a playground not far from the Xujiahui area in central Shanghai. Dressed in a gold Kobe Bryant Lakers jersey, a baseball hat worn slightly askew and Nike high-tops, he’s got the American hip-hop look of a baller down pat. He’s 16 years old and started playing four years ago. “I come here sometimes four times a week,” he says. “I like the game, I like the fact that it’s a team game but that individual skills matter a lot. You can be creative and still be part of a team. And in order to keep playing here you have to win each time, so you have to be good.”

More from Time: Cue China and Crazy for Gold

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