Going from being a criticised basketball player in New York to the top 30 honourary citizens of Beijing, Stephan Marbury has a fantastic story to tell. Wang Jingyu, Yang Fan and Mengtong Niu (Xinhua) have teamed up to produce “Beijing Boy”, a video that shows not only how Marbury adapted into the Chinese society but also became one of the most successful international athletes in China.
–Stephan Marbury is a very interesting sports figure to me. There are a lot of American players including former NBA stars who have come to China to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) League, but no one else has been as successful and popular as Marbury did. I guess he became a city hero in Beijing not only because he helped the Shougang club claim three league titles in four years, but also because he embraced the Chinese culture much better than most of the international players in the CBA. He helps teammates become better basketball players, he enjoys his life in Beijing and he is willing to have strong connections with the city. So after he retired as a player and took the helm of Beikong, also a Beijing club, to continue his basketball career in Beijing, I was thinking about making a video report on him to help people outside China know better about his real life in Beijing and China. Then I discussed with my colleagues and finally we did it.
What was your inspiration to make this joint work?
Mr. Yang Fan said that Stephan Marbury is a quite popular target of the press. He also likes to be interviewed by the press as well. So there are a lot of videos about him, such as his statue and his personal museum in Beijing… etc. During the process of shooting, we thought quite hard about how to discover more stories behind Marbury and let more audience learn about his “secrets” in addition to what has been reported by the media, aiming to come up with something new besides what has been “studied” about him. To solve this problem, we tried to capture details in the following shots to depict the personality of a basketball star. For example, his WeChat name is BB. It means Beijing Boy and shows his love for Beijing. Besides, we learned that Marbury likes to eat Chinese food with spicy tastes and hot pots. Another example is that as the chief coach, we saw that during a routine warm-up training, Marbury encouraged each player by clapping constantly. Therefore, we included the detail “clapping 194 times in 1 minute and 5 seconds” in the film to show his image as a chief coach.
Please tell us your emotion as you were advancing to the next round and what happened when you saw your name in the finals?
Actually I got the news from my colleague, Miss Shen Nan, who was a key member of our team, and I was like “Wow, is it true?” When it was confirmed, I was really happy and felt honoured and shared the news with my wife right away. I think it’s a great team effort and I am only answering the questions on behalf of the whole team. I would like to say that the production of such profile videos requires really good cooperation and communication among team members and fortunately we have such a great team. And I would also like to extend special gratitude to the filming team led by Mr. Yang Bo. Without the diligent and professional work from him and his team, we could never make it happen.
Mr Wang, how did your journey start as a journalist?
I became a sports writer at Xinhua right after college in 1999. I have always been a sports fan and like playing football and basketball best. Being a sports writer at China’s biggest news agency is really an ideal job for me. You never get tired of it. It’s always inspiring.
What can the AIPS Sport Media Awards bring to the profession and to the new generations of journalists?
The AIPS Sports Media Awards have been very inspiring and encouraging. First, the prize is a very important recognition for sports journalists at a time of this information boom. Secondly, the Awards help to introduce the best sports news reports from around the world and inspire us to think more about our work and find new directions. Thirdly, since the importance of sports reports are often underestimated, the AIPS Sports Media Awards certainly bring us more confidence and inspiration in our pursuit of career.
In both of your opinions, what is the biggest challenge for sports journalism in the present and in the future? Why?
I think the biggest challenge for sports journalism is to stay focused on a certain sport or area when there is a bunch of work to do. However, without concentration and deep “digging”, it’s difficult to make fine reports. You have to make a really good balance between the sport and depth of your reportage.
“Beijing Boy” is one of the Podium Nominees in the Video Athlete Profile category with the involvement of a team led by Yang Fan, Wang Jingyu and Mengtong Niu. Final ceremony will take place at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Sunday June 12. To meet all finalists.
Culled from AIPS website