Here’s a change: the biggest NBA news in China right now isn’t about Yao Ming or Kobe, but rather their 7-foot-1 compatriot, Shaq. The Cleveland Cavs center arrived in China on Monday on a promotional tour, but made an unplanned stop at the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, claiming, “I always wanted to know if Shaolin kung fu was real or not. Now, at last I know – the Chinese kung fu I saw on television, it was all real.”
Yep, it was so real that the notoriously Twitter-happy Shaq was moved to tweet, in typical Shaq-ese,
Ive been alotta place but being at the shaolin temple n china has brouhht a tear to my eye buddha blessed
Shaq also met with the abbot of the temple to discuss the origins of Zen Buddhism, watch kungfu performances by the monks, and learn a bit about Snake Style and Drunken Style kung fu. (We at Shanghaiist also know a thing or two about Drunken Style kung fu, if Shaq wants to pop down to Shanghai and have a gander.)
Props also to Shaq for playing the good guest as he gifted the abbot with a signed pair of basketball shoes. In return, he received a statue of Bodhidarma, the founder of Shaolin Kungfu, and some special sticking plaster, which is
probably useless believed to help in healing.
Shaq left his mark in the temple by signing, “I love you very much. Peace be with you”, and said he plans to introduce mixed martial arts into his basketball game back in Cleveland. He also stated, “When I retire, I hope to come back to the Shaolin Temple to study for a year. To come here just this one time is not enough.” If that’s true, we expect basketball’s popularity to continue in China, as well as Shaq’s. Who knows, maybe Shaq will be the next next Karate Kid.
More Shaqtastic photos can be found here