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Worldview 5.10.12

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Former Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith was the second Nuggets free agent to sign a contract to play in China during the 2011 NBA lockout. (AP/Barry Gutierrez, File)

The YMCA introduced the Chinese to basketball in 1895. The sport has undergone a lot of changes since then, and has developed its own unique identity in China, shaped in part by American players. During the 2011 NBA lockout, former Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith opted for a secure paycheck and headed to the Asian nation, where he signed a contract to play for the Zhejian Golden Bulls. He became an immediate sensation and lead the league in scoring.

But Smith was hardly the first U.S. player to try a stint in China. New York Times South Asia bureau chief Jim Yardley chronicles this phenomena in his book, Brave Dragons: A Chinese Basketball Team, An American Coach, and Two Cultures Clashing. On Thursday, Worldview talks with Yardley and former NBA coach and Chicago Bulls player Bob Weiss about America's role in Chinese basketball.

Then, on Worldview's Global Activism segment, we talk with Kat Vallera, co-founder of Music for Lombok. The organization brings music, art and English language education to Indonesian orphans. Vallera explains how, as she states, "a Caucasian girl from Chicago" found her passion for helping kids "on the other side of the world."

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