The Georgetown University Hoyas men’s basketball team’s trip to China gained international attention as video of the unfortunate fight between the Hoyas and the Bayi Rockets went viral around the world. There have since been a plethora of stories written about the incident, many with factual errors and misinterpretations. I offer an account of the events as someone who travelled with the team throughout the trip to Beijing and Shanghai, including the fateful game with the Bayi Rockets.
The purpose of the trip was to build upon Georgetown’s growing academic linkages with China by showcasing the University’s best-known brand, the Hoyas basketball team, in a series of exhibition games in Beijing and Shanghai. After being mobbed for pictures with Chinese young people as they visited the Great Wall and Forbidden City, the Hoyas played a sedate and friendly game against the Shanxi Brave Dragons. US Vice President Joe Biden, traveling to China for meetings with the future leader of China Xi Jinping, dropped by the game on his arrival in the country, and amiably engaged the Chinese audience at the stadium, exchanging jokes and high fives. The evening was nothing short of ideal.