Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside recently spoke about his professional basketball career, including a bizarre experience while in China.
The 29-year-old is a former second-round pick who began his career as a bit of a journeyman, first playing for the Sacramento Kings and then for several teams in the NBA D-League. Eventually, the seven-footer landed in the National Basketball League, which is China’s second-tier basketball league.
Whiteside spoke to Haley O’Shaughnessy about his improbable road back to the NBA, including an anecdote that displayed how a language barrier can be a challenge for American players overseas (via The Ringer):
“In China, he was unable to communicate, and therefore out of his element. A player from another team taught Whiteside how to greet: “Wǒ shì nǐ bàba”—hi, nice to meet you. He said it to everyone at home, on the road, in the gym. There were never any “you, too’s” in return, only blank stares. Well into the season, Whiteside found out from his team’s general manager that he was actually saying “I’m your daddy.” Whiteside immediately recognized the player in the layup line a year later, after he had left for Lebanon again, then returned back to China. He wishes he had dunked on him. Wǒ shì nǐ bàba.”
This entire profile of the big man is worth reading, considering it offers a fascinating look at Whiteside’s life.
It’s unclear whether Whiteside eventually learned a proper greeting, in case he ever returns for a trip to China.
Regardless, it was a fairly impressive troll job by his rival NBL competitor.