NBA player slammed for graffiti incident at Great Wall of China

By Cindy Boren

Bobby Brown of the Rockets. Photo / AP
Bobby Brown of the Rockets. Photo / AP

Bobby Brown of the Houston Rockets asked for forgiveness from Chinese citizens after drawing heavy criticism in China for inscribing his name and number on the country's Great Wall.

Brown and the Rockets made the sightseeing stop during a trip to China with the New Orleans Pelicans for the NBA's Global Game China and he couldn't resist the urge to leave a little graffiti behind on the 2,221-year-old wall. His work came to light when he posted images on his Weibo microblog (kind of like China's Twitter), writing, "Had a blast at the Great Wall of China today."

Chinese netizens became furious. "Are you proud of your carving? This is a part of world heritage, not the toilet of your home," one Weibo user commented before Brown's post was deleted, according to and

On Tuesday, the 32-year-old point guard wrote, "I respect the Chinese culture, I made an honest mistake . . . hope you forgive me," in a post that was also removed later.

Writing on the Great Wall is, of course, prohibited. "No matter who you are, you should not scratch graffiti on the Great Wall. As a world cultural relic, the Great Wall needs protection from both Chinese people and foreign tourists," a manager with the Mutianyu Great Wall Travel Service Co., Ltd., told Beijing Youth Daily.

If tourists feel they must leave a message, there are designated "graffiti zones."

NBA teams have been going to China for decades, with the Washington Bullets becoming the first U.S. pro sports team to visit the country in 1979, shortly after diplomatic relations were normalized. Wes Unseld, then the team's star center, looked back in 2009, telling The Post's J. Freedom du Lac: "They just told us not to do anything stupid - which as members of a professional team we were apt to do sometimes. I learned some Chinese, too: hello, goodbye, I'm sorry - things like that."

All these years later, missteps can still happen. At least Brown got off the bus and took in the Wall.

"I was a history major in college and wanted to see everything I could," Unseld recalled. "We took a bus to the Great Wall, and a couple of my teammates didn't get off the bus. I don't know if they were tired or what, but I was embarrassed."

- Washington Post

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