Follow the World Cup on Facebook

to read

''Basketball is a huge part of my life'' - Jason Derulo

SHENZHEN (China) - One may not think basketball is top-of-mind when Jason Derulo's name comes up, but you'd be surprised to know just how connected to the game the American singer-songwriter is.

View this post on Instagram

🤷‍♂️🏆🤷‍♂️ Who will win the next #FIBAWC?

A post shared by FIBA Basketball World Cup (@fibawc) on

Derulo, who was born Jason Joel Desrouleaux in Miramar, Florida in the United States to Haitian immigrants, actually began playing basketball and making music at a young age. At 12 years old, his basketball coach/trainer, Frank Harris, who used to play hoops in Europe, noticed not just Derulo's talent for the game but more so his talent in the recording studio.

In the midst of basketball training, Harris connected Derulo to his music industry network, became his de facto manager and the rest, well, is modern music history.

Derulo's connection to basketball and his worldwide presence in pop culture made him an easy choice as one of the headliners for the star-studded FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw that took place last weekend, and we got to catch up with the 29-year-old star to pick his brain about China, superstar Kobe Bryant and the game we all love.

Have you been to China before? Is this your first time?

I've been to China before, but never to Shenzhen. It's been incredible so far. I haven't really spent enough time in China, and it's definitely in my bucket list to spend more time here and get to really experience China for what it is.

View this post on Instagram

I’m that flight that you get on INTERNATIONAL #China Xie Xie thank you for all the love !!

A post shared by Jason Derulo (@jasonderulo) on

How's sharing the stage with Kobe Bryant?

Incredible. Kobe is the GOAT. He's the greatest, so for me, we spent some time before the Draw. I asked him some questions I wanted to ask. Basketball is a huge part of my life. There was a section of my life when basketball was everything, so I think it's incredible to be here. It's a huge celebration, obviously, for the people. I'm really excited to be here.

Yeah, you used to play in high school, and you had to choose between music and basketball. How was it like to make that decision?

It was a pretty close decision at that point because I was just so obsessed with it at that point in my life. I was really successful at it at that point. We were winning championship after championship. I had a coach who really believed in me, so it was a tough decision from that perspective. But music has always been my first love.


Is it surprising to you to come to a place like China and see just how big basketball is here?

I was really surprised to see how big it is here. I'm happy to see it. I think it's just an incredible sport, and it's so fun, very fast-paced and takes a lot of skill to be great at it. I'm happy that it's continuing to spread.

View this post on Instagram

🎤🔥 @JasonDerulo warming up for the #FIBAWC Draw! Watch it live on YouTube.com/FIBA

A post shared by FIBA Basketball World Cup (@fibawc) on

Do you have any favorite memories of Kobe as a player?

Kobe has just so many moments that I remember. My most memorable moment was 2009 I believe when he made the game winner against Dwyane Wade, who is one of my favorite players as well. He played for the Heat, obviously, and I'm from Miami. He hit that shot off the backboard was pretty crazy, so that's definitely one of my most memorable moments from the GOAT.

So you've interacted with fans from China, and they're quite passionate about a lot of things.

I haven't spent much time here at all, but I think it's incredible always to be introduced to something new, to come somewhere so far away from home and receive so much love is an incredible thing. I did this song for the championship which is called "Champion" and just recently I did a song with Lay Zang, who's obviously a big star here. We did a song called "Let's Shut Up and Dance" for a Michael Jackson tribute, so that's a little piece of China that I had just recently.