17 Hsi-le Bao (TPE)
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Bao Hsi-Le: World wanderer, basketball star, and sports philanthropist

TAIPEI (Chinese Taipei) - Bao Hsi-Le (or Joy Burke) had one specific photo on her mind when she was asked of her experience playing in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup for the first time in 2015. It's a photo of embracing her teammate and even though you can't see her facial expression, you can feel the emotions pouring out in the moment.

It's a bittersweet moment "because this picture was taken just moments after losing a heart-breaking game against Japan that ended our chances of advancing in the tournament", but it's a snapshot of an instance that she will always remember.

"This was the moment I experienced the power of love. Love for a country. Love for a team.  Love for the game," Bao explained.

"Playing for my national team for the first time was beyond what I could have ever expected.  I consider it an honor and privilege every time I get to wear my jersey and step on the court with my teammates."

2015 was the first time Bao played for Chinese Taipei in the Women's Asia Cup. She would play again in 2017 and hopes that will not be her last.

"It is always so special! Playing in FIBA events against other countries is one of the most challenging and rewarding basketball experiences. I love experiencing the style of play that unique to each country."

Bao's love for the diversity in basketball style is not exaggerated and not surprising. While she plays for Chinese Taipei, she started playing basketball in the US before embarking on a professional career with stops in Denmark and Australia.

It's not a stretch to say that Bao Hsi-Le has really played basketball all over the world. As a matter of fact, she was a representative of "Team World" in 2019 at the Aurora Games, an all-women international sports festival.

"Being chosen to represent Team World was such an honor, and it was great to win over Team Americas. My greatest highlight of the entire experience was the team," she said about the experience playing with players like Kalani Purcell, Marianna Tolo, and Julie Vanloo. "We all instantly became friends.  It's not every day you get to take the floor with iconic FIBA stars."


That experience, including each other stop along the way has provided valuable experience for Bao playing with Chinese Taipei. Her love for the game blossomed in the US, when playing with her family on a consistent basis.

"My first memories of playing basketball were with my grandpa. We would play H.O.R.S.E. on the driveway until it was too dark to see the hoop," she explained. "He used the backboard for every angle and always won."

Her brother, TJ, also played basketball at a collegiate and professional level.

"We used to compete against each other all of the time, but now we are each other’s biggest fans. My brother is my best performance trainer and coach. He knows just what I need and helps me overcome previous injuries to be stronger and healthier. I am so thankful for him!"

All of that led to Bao playing at Arizona State where she was a key player for the Sundevils.

"[Playing at Arizona State University] pushed to my limits physically, mentally, and emotionally, balancing school and basketball. It was at ASU where I learned about leadership and teamwork.  Energy is contagious, and I truly believe that a team that stays mentally positive, connected to each other, and fights for each other is unstoppable."


"From a basketball standpoint, I learned the value of each possession and finding ways to gain extra possessions through extra efforts such as offensive rebounds and loose balls."

From there, she went on to play in her first professional stint across the pond in Denmark.

"[Playing in Denmark] was a life changing year for me in every single way," Bao said about playing for Hørsholm 79ers. "I found my love for the game again and that love propelled me to continue playing basketball all around the world. Denmark was where I won my first and only (non-tournament) championship, which was won through pure passion and determination.  There will always be a special place in my heart for Denmark."

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1st tournament & 1st trophy of the season! Love this team ❤️ #hørsholm79ers

A post shared by Joy Marie Burke (@joyful3) on


She then went on to play in Australia for the Bendigo Spirit in the WNBL and the Ballarat Rush in the SEABL.

"I instantly fell in love with Australia from the first moment I arrived.  Growing up in Asia and America, I felt as though Australia had the best of the Eastern and Western cultures. I knew I had arrived home."

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#winning with friends like these three! 😘😘😘

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"The basketball clubs in Australia really allowed me to flourish personally, professionally, and philanthropically. Personally, I instantly bonded with my teammates and we would have fun on and off the court. Professionally, all of my coaches believed in me and spent so much of their personal time helping me with skill development and the physicality of the game."

"Philanthropically, I was given opportunities to give back to the community, which is what I love to do most."

Over the years playing basketball, philanthropy is something that Bao has become passionate with. She has found a way to tie those two things up together.

"My passion is people and culture, and sports gives me a way to connect with people all around the world," Bao explained. "I know that I wouldn't be who I am today without the people who believed in me and gave me opportunities to accomplish my dreams. I want to be that person for someone else. I've discovered that my dream is to help others have the opportunity to dream and discover their unique gift to the world."

"I love to spend my offseason creating Sports Philanthropy projects around the world and partnering with others who have a similar passion of using sports to give back."

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LOVE | the most powerful force in the universe. I love you, Bhutan.

A post shared by Joy Marie Burke (@joyful3) on


"In 2018, I went on my first Sports Philanthropy Tour to Bhutan and the Philippines. In Bhutan, I coached the women's national basketball team and conducted basketball camps for college students at the Royal Thimphu College. In Davao, Philippines, I partnered with the Davao Dream Center, which helps underprivileged kids have access to education. I spent time traveling to remote villages and speaking at schools."



"Anyone who lives their life to serve others is my role model. I also really admire people who overcome tremendous hardships and still have the ability to see beauty in life."

A reason that Bao is so passionate about helping others get through various life hurdles is because she has faced similar situations herself. From physical injuries to emotional struggles, Bao knows that life isn't easy which why she is always looking out to help as many people as she can.

"Throughout my career, I've had many injuries, but probably the hardest to overcome, was when I had multiple doctors tell me right before an important tournament that I should think long-term and consider ending my career."


Bao mentioned that this was the decision she had to make a couple of years back and it's obvious that her choice was to keep on playing.

"There were many layers to that decision, but mostly it's the deep desire to push the boundaries of my own limitations to experience the impossible."

"Another challenge with my profession is the sacrifice that comes with leaving home and my comfort zone. Honestly, physical pain and injuries are nothing compared to this. Leaving home is always the hardest for me to overcome. I've found that time and time again, the sacrifice is always worth it and what I gain in return is beyond my own expectation. I consider it a gift to be able to adventure around the world and immerse myself in new cultures through the game of basketball."

Playing the game of basketball around the world for many teams means that Bao is being watched by many young players. She acknowledges her status as a role model and, in turn, that makes each time she steps on the court more than just about getting the win.

"Within moments of the game ending, there will be young fans coming up to me asking for an autograph. Sometimes it's directly after losing a tough game and before I can even process my thoughts and emotions, I see the smile on the kid's face and I remind myself that basketball is more than winning and losing."

"How I treat people in this moment matters. Sometimes you only get one chance with people and how I show up for them matters. Usually, it's interactions with these young fans that change my entire perspective on the game."

For as unique and complicated as Bao Hsi-Le's career has been - playing around the world, playing for Chinese Taipei, coaching in Bhutan - her motivation is simple: she just wants to help spread the love for the game and for life.

"I consider being a role model to young girls a privilege. I want every girl to know she is deeply loved and valued just the way she is."

Currently, Bao is coaching athletes and teams around the world to be Champion Givers by igniting the power and passion of sports with non-profit purpose. Anyone interested can contact her via email.

"It’s more than creating awareness for social justice causes, but putting it into sustainable action that creates personal and societal advancement through sport."