Own The Game: Guo Ailun
Guo talks about representing China on an international stage.
“Own The Game” is a series spotlighting the boldness and fearlessness of Jordan Brand family members.
From the end of August until mid-September, professional basketball players from 32 countries will compete in eight different cities in China. This occasion, the FIBA Basketball World Cup, highlights the fact that basketball is a unifying force, and Jordan Brand family member, Guo Ailun, is spreading that message on and off the court.
The start of Guo’s basketball career was partially inspired by his uncle, a former professional player in China (he is currently Guo’s coach). From the age of 15, Guo was playing well at notable academies in the U.S., which led to him being drafted into the Chinese Basketball Association at age 17. He has since represented China on numerous global stages, and in 2017, Guo became the first Chinese player signed to Jordan Brand.
Following the official reveal of the new Chinese national team jersey, as well as Jordan Brand’s new Greater China collection, we asked Guo to talk about this year’s tournament, representing China and owning the game.
How would you compare professional basketball in the U.S. and China?
U.S players are more aggressive and don’t shy away from contact. It has been great for us to train with American players who possess such skill and work ethic. It shows us that we still have a lot of work to do. However, we’ve also proved that we can compete with some of these teams and win games if we play team-ball and bring our A-game.
You’ve been a member of the Chinese national team for several years already. How do you overcome fear or setbacks?
There is definitely a lot of pressure each time you step on the court. You represent the country and carry the expectations of millions of fans back home. It’s normal to feel nervous in these situations, especially before the game. Thankfully, my teammates always stand with me, and hearing our fans cheer for us always motivates me to compete at the highest level. It is my goal to play at the highest level during each game and help team China win.
“It is my goal to play at the highest level during each game and help team China win.”
Many say that your playing style is different, and that you have a lot of confidence and drive. Where would you say this comes from?
I’m from the northeastern part of China, and I would say that having a fearless attitude is a common trait among the people there. When I’m on the court, all I think about is winning. No matter how tall or strong my opponents are, I always think that I can beat them. You need to have a strong and confident mindset each time you step on the court. That’s the number one rule.
What are your expectations for the tournament this year?
Playing on our home turf, we definitely want to win the championship. Despite knowing we have certain shortcomings, we are confident in ourselves and share a common goal to win each game. We will leave it all out on the floor each game for the nation and for our fans. We know it’s going to be a tough tournament with so many good teams, but we’ll take it one game at a time.
The Jordan Brand Greater China apparel collection is now available in Greater China.