Hong Kong’s biggest basketball star Duncan Reid is loving life since his dream of playing in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) finally came true this year.
Before his first game as a member of the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, the 2.06m-tall Reid spoke to Young Post about his incredible journey, the benefits of being trilingual, and his love for the game.
“I love basketball because of the freedom you experience when you play,” said the 28-year-old.
“It allows you to forget about all your other worries and concerns.”
Reid, who is half Canadian and half Chinese, had a diverse upbringing in Hong Kong as he played basketball for Sha Tin College and Ying Wa College during secondary school.
“I was lucky to play for both schools and experience the differences in talent and playing style between local and international schools,” he said.
Reid went on to pursue a professional career, becoming a star player for South China in the Hong Kong Basketball Association. He also found success with the Hong Kong national team, leading his squad in points, rebounds, assists and blocks in the 2015 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
Unfortunately, he failed to catch the attention of any mainland teams when he was in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) draft.
Reid stayed positive, and went on to help South China secure the A1 Division Championship, winning the Most Valuable Player award in 2017 and playing the best basketball of his career.
This time, teams did take notice, and Reid was drafted as third overall pick by Zhejiang, making him the fifth player from South China to make it into the CBA.
Reid said being trilingual has “definitely” helped his career – especially when it comes to communicating with his Cantonese and Mandarin speaking teammates.
“It makes transitioning to new countries and new situations that much smoother and easier,” he said.
He said the big step up in competition meant he had to take his game and training to new levels.
“The CBA is the best league in Asia, so playing here has challenged me a lot and helped me develop in many different ways,” Reid said. “My workout regime is very time-intensive but I believe you need to be doing individual skill work every day, strength and condition three to four times a week and balancing the training load with the team’s practice schedule.” As the top professional basketball league in Asia, the CBA has a handful of former NBA stars.
“Playing with and against former NBA players is always surreal, to go from watching them on TV or YouTube to trying to stop them and score on them is a lot of fun,” said Reid, whose basketball idol is NBA legend Tim Duncan.
“I’m really looking forward to playing against guys like Luis Scola and Brandon Jennings this year.”
Although the quality of play will be unlike anything he has ever faced, Reid is confident he can contribute at a high level.
“Each time you participate in a higher league, the players get bigger, more athletic and more talented,” he said. “The game also speeds up but, at the end of the day, it’s still just basketball.”
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Reid will continue to be involved with the growth of Hong Kong basketball, both during the CBA off-season and when his playing career is over.
“I am going to run several basketball camps and clinics when I come back to Hong Kong this off-season,” he said, adding that he would also welcome the chance to play for South China again if his schedule allows it.
Reid‘s advice for young Hong Kong ballers – get involved with the local scene.
“Keep working hard, because there are a lot of good local clubs and opportunities for development.”