Mou Zuoyun

His name might as well be Zelig. Nearly every time China has opened up to the world over the past century, Mou Zuoyun has been there, nudging the door open even further with the only tool he possesses: basketball. Born in 1913 near Tianjin, Mou developed his love of the game — and his fascination with the West — playing on courts run by American missionaries. In 1936, the agile 1.82-m youngster joined China's first full delegation to the Olympic Games, marching into the Berlin stadium under the gaze of Adolf Hitler. Mou then married into sports royalty — his father-in-law...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!