Basketball: Houston Rockets player in Great Wall of China trouble

Houston Rockets player Bobby Brown stretches before training on Oct 11, 2016.
Houston Rockets player Bobby Brown stretches before training on Oct 11, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

(AFP) - Bobby Brown of US basketball team the Houston Rockets asked for forgiveness on Chinese social media after drawing anger for inscribing his name on the country's Great Wall.

Brown, point guard for the team, posted a photo on Tuesday (Oct 11) of his signature scratched in white onto a grey stone section of the iconic structure on Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.

His post drew outrage from Chinese internet users who accused him of vandalism.

Brown later deleted the photo and wrote a message reading: "I'm so sorry for this... I respect Chinese culture and made an honest mistake."

The Houston Rockets have been in China this week for pre-season matches, common for top National Basketball Association teams seeking to promote themselves in China.

Basketball is hugely popular in the country, with major US stars and teams able to win lucrative sponsorship and endorsement contracts from Chinese firms.

The Great Wall was built more than a millennium ago to keep invading foreigners away from China's capital.

But at some sections of the Wall such as Badaling, an hour's drive from Beijing, it is easy to find bricks covered with graffiti in Chinese and foreign languages.

In 2014 state media said a specific area would be established at one section of the wall where visitors may scribble freely.