The NBA is a fusion of athleticism, camaraderie, and its worldwide popularity makes it a perfect platform for viral trends.
Enter the "Get ready to learn Chinese, buddy" meme, starring NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. This humorous phrase has taken Twitter by storm, showing how online culture, global sports, and even livestream shopping are interconnected.
Let's unpack this meme's evolution, origins, as well as how James Harden’s livestream event brought this meme back alive.
In the world where social media turns ordinary moments into memes, the "Get ready to learn Chinese, buddy" trend stands out as a prime example, courtesy of the NBA. It's a playful response to players who underperform in games, suggesting that if they don't improve, they might as well go play in China's CBA league and pick up some Chinese language skills.
The meme first emerged as a fabricated Bleacher Report infographic featuring NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, accompanied by a fictitious quote attributed to him: "Get ready to learn Chinese, buddy." This meme surfaced when @realnbaquotz first shared shortly after NBA player Kyrie Irving faced criticism for an antisemitic incident in November 2022, before gaining traction across the internet.
Ever since, the meme has become a jesting response targeted at athletes who had been underperforming or facing setbacks.
Here’s an example of a recent tweet on Gnabry’s performance:
In a more recent development on August 17, 2023, the meme saw another resurgence thanks to Josiah Johnson. This time, the meme was cleverly employed in connection to James Harden's latest venture.
Joined by online sensation Crazy Brother Yang, Harden delved into the realm of livestreams to endorse his own J-Harden brand of wine. The outcome was nothing short of remarkable – an astounding 15 million viewers tuned in, underscoring the immense popularity of livestreaming in China.
Josiah Johnson's use of the meme in relation to Harden's new endeavor added another layer of humor and relevance. With the meme's history of poking fun at underperforming players in a light-hearted manner, the context of Harden's triumphant livestream event made for an ironical fit, because here was Harden, who had recently achieved unprecedented success in the livestreaming world. The phrase "Get ready to learn Chinese, buddy" had now taken on an entirely new and unexpected connotation.
During the livestream, a heartwarming interaction stood out. Crazy Brother Yang playfully asked Harden about his typical daily wine sales at a single store. Harden responded modestly, mentioning "a few cases."
However, what followed left both of them in awe. In an astonishingly brief span of just 14 seconds, viewers managed to buy a staggering 10,000 bottles of wine, adding up to an impressive $300,000 in sales at $60 for two bottles.
Harden's genuine reaction encompassed a mix of disbelief, hearty laughter, and even applause. He couldn't help but look at a computer monitor, his amazement evident as he exclaimed, "No way!"
While both the meme's popularity and Harden's venture into livestreaming offer lighthearted glimpses of the NBA's worldwide impact, it's crucial to acknowledge the league's intricate dynamics. The NBA's international popularity and success come with the challenge of balancing sports, business, and sociopolitical considerations. Instances like Kyrie’s Hong Kong controversy serve as reminders that the convergence of sports, culture, and commerce requires careful navigation.
In the digital era, the "Get ready to learn Chinese, buddy" meme stands as a prime example of humor's capacity to transcend borders. Its integration with James Harden's livestream shopping endeavor adds an intriguing layer, spotlighting the NBA's flexibility and impact in today's interconnected world.
As memes continue to shape the way we communicate and connect, it's definitely interesting to see how they bridge global communities, even when the subject matter extends beyond lackluster basketball performances.