Ryan Hansen was playing basketball at Auburn High School in 1995 when he got the chance to join a travelling team for a 10-day visit to Beijing, China.
“I will never forget that trip,” said Hansen, today the head coach of the Trojan boys program. “It was a really cool experience.”
Coach has provided the same opportunity for his players this summer.
Hansen, two other coaches and 10 players will depart July 15 for Shanghai, China for eight days of fun and international games before returning July 23. While there, the team will practice, compete against some of China’s top high school players and teams in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 tournaments.
The travelling roster is comprised of seven players from Auburn and a player each from Lindbergh, Lakes and King’s high schools.
While in China, the contingent will have time to sight-see, shop, meet new friends, taste the cuisine and take in the culture.
“We’re real excited about the opportunity,” Hansen said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The trip was made possible through Hansen’s ties with Chris Hong, who worked as a senior executive in sales and corporate partnerships for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. Hong, who was with the Hawks for five years and previously worked for other pro teams, left for China to open a basketball business in Shanghai called Sports Essentials.
Hong and the Shanghai Basketball Association is fully funding the trip. Hong also is bringing to China the Hawks Dance Team and the team mascot, Harry the Hawk, to perform at the Shanghai tournament.
Hansen and Hong worked out details for the trip.
“Being able to offer the same experience (that I had) to my kids, I wasn’t going to pass on the opportunity,” Hansen said.
“You get an opportunity to see another part of the world, see different cultures,” he said. “(China) has changed a lot since I was there … and we get to see a different style of basketball, work with the teams and share what we know.”