Wacky World of Choc Wednesdays: Chocolate, China, and Basketball

Here’s something fun for sporty chocolate fans. Beantown favorite Paul Pierce, of the (17-time World Champion!!!) Boston Celtics, on a recent trip to China, was immortalized with a commemorative chocolate figurine.

On August 26, Pierce, also known as The Truth, tweeted a photograph of the figurine, captioning it “The chocolate Truth.” Here it is:

He also tweeted the following image of himself with his commemorative chocolate figurine:

This is totally awesome. It also raises a lot of questions. How is it that, in the past several years, basketball has gained such popularity in China that an NBA star’s visit would bring about a promotional figurine? Why might a figurine in China be made out of chocolate? (See also China’s Chocolate War.) Moreover, it seems plain to me, but others might not agree — racial factors are at play here, intentionally or otherwise, are they not? Put more simply, would Larry Bird’s figurine have been made out of white chocolate? For more on the complexities of chocolate and race, see Cadbury’s ill-fated advertising campaign in 2009. Oh, and then again in 2011. This is just the tip of the iceberg. How does this figurine exemplify or differ from the other ways that chocolate is used in ritual or commemoration? And, for those of you who experience a certain sadness when eating chocolate bunnies, would you do the humane thing and eat Pierce’s figurine head first?

Here are nearly five minutes of excellent reasons for Pierce’s commemoration:

While we’re at it, check out Pierce’s inspirational campaign:

Paul Pierce’s Truth on Health campaign empowers and encourages young people to lead healthier lives by providing them with the information, resources, and tools necessary to become more active and physically fit. To learn more, visit www.truthonhealth.org.

Yeah, the world of chocolate is wacky.


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    Bittersweet Notes is an open source research project on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food. I invite you to join me as I explore the story of chocolate and the life stories of those involved with chocolate at its many stages of production and consumption.

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