9-MAN uncovers an isolated and unique streetball tournament played by Chinese-Americans in the heart of Chinatowns across the USA and Canada. Largely undiscovered by the mainstream, the game is a gritty, athletic, chaotic urban treasure traditionally played in parking lots and back alleys. 9-Man grew in the 1930’s, at a time when anti-Chinese sentiment and laws forced restaurant workers and laundrymen to socialize exclusively amongst themselves. Today it’s a lasting connection to Chinatown for a dynamic community of men who know a different, more integrated world, but still fight to maintain autonomy and tradition.
An extended interview with historian John Kuo Wei Tchen (aka Jack), founding director of the Asian Pacific American Studies Program and Institute at New York University and co-founder of New York's Museum of Chinese in America.
Interview selects from a conversation with Yuka Nakamura, PhD, author of "Boundaries of Belonging: Overlapping Allegiances and Multiple Attachments A study of the North American Chinese Invitational Volleyball Tournament," the first academic study of the 9-Man tournament and accompanying women's ...
In 2013, the 9-Man tournament took place on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., a few blocks away from Chinatown. Because of permit limitations, the local host teams had to set up all the courts in the early morning to be ready in time for the arriving teams.