Darren Rovell says he understands Chinese culture after living in China for five weeks. I have my thoughts on that

Darren Rovell was spewing out jersey sale numbers today and they were interesting. The one on sales from China took him by surprise.

Then he decided to expand on that.

He then decided to proclaim that Chinese culture values championships more.

He was then questioned by a follower as to how he came to that conclusion.

Rovell then retorted by saying that because he once lived in China for five weeks, he knows Chinese culture.

Here’s another instance where he references his stay in China as his source on their culture.

Of course, that kind of response had the follower confused.


Following that, other followers decided to enlighten him on the actual reason why Derrick Rose’s jersey was so popular.

Despite his claim and assurance about the championships theory, the new information to him now has him second guessing.

One more follower decides to ask him about his credentials.

He then replies.


I’m Chinese so I think that I have a certain knowledge of my own culture. Yes, Chinese people do value team success but the fact that Rovell didn’t realize about the color red or the ties to Michael Jordan shows he doesn’t actually get Chinese culture. Even though I spent my entire life growing up in America, I have been to China. I have been to Hong Kong. I have family there. I speak the language. I grew up watching basketball as a Chinese kid. My family there have talked basketball with me. I’ve played basketball in Hong Kong in the playgrounds. If anyone understood Chinese culture, and basketball culture there, it would have been natural to connect Michael Jordan and the color red to Rose jerseys.

Also, Chinese people like to buy jerseys of players they want to emulate. That’s why the top jersey sales are of ball handlers, shooters, and explosive players. Chinese basketball fans don’t want a big center or power forward. They want a shooting guard or a small forward. That’s their goal. This is why Derrick Rose is so popular. Add on to the jersey color, the team and the fact that his size is comparable to a lot of Chinese players, it makes sense for them to want to buy his jersey. Also, he’s a former MVP and has not been a media clown. And oh yeah, he tours China during the offseason among other players, so that’s a factor.

(He talks about team success as a major factor, which it is. But the NBA has always been about marketing the individual. And with jerseys, that’s exactly what that is. The NBA brands the individual players.)

I didn’t have to study Chinese culture to get that. I live it. Sure, I have never spent five weeks in China, but I know my culture, I know my family and I’ve seen it first hand. Money isn’t always the reason why people do things. Sometimes it’s influence. And sometimes, people don’t always get it unless they live it.

Is this to discredit Rovell as someone who understands marketing? Absolutely not. He understands business. But the reason why Rose’s sales are high isn’t because of just marketing. It’s a Chinese culture that you don’t get by living there for five weeks and studying books. (And I’m surprised those studies never embedded the color and culture of the Bulls into the curriculum.)

Nobody will ever understand culture in that short time. I live it. My family lives it. I grew up in it.


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