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Brian Schoenborn 0:01
Hello, hello. Hey everyone. Our guest today has embraced the journey. He’s man whose explored very many parts of the world and done some pretty incredible things, including his time since I’ve known him in Beijing as the six-time Beijing city boxing champion. He also got to start as an NBA journalist in Korea, I think he covered the Korean basketball league as well. Meanwhile, as boxing city champion six times, he moonlighted as a Chinese propagandist, or journalist or journalist with a white face. Give it up for my friend Nick the Quantum Beast Bedard.
Brian Schoenborn 0:51
My name is Brian Schoenborn. I’m an explorer, people, places and culture. In my travels spreading over 20 countries across four continents, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in authentic conversations with amazingly interesting people. These are their stories, on location and unfiltered. Presented by 8B Media. This is Half the City.
Nick Bedard 1:18
Thanks for having me on Brian. I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to share I’m happy to share the journey. Like you said I do embrace the journey. The destination is important but the the mass emphasis of my you know, lifestyle and so on has been the journey time and time again and we’re going to talk about a few of those journeys today. So thank you very much. I hope this is going to be you know, entertaining. If not, you know, if you learn anything from it, that’s great. But I’m here to share my story because that’s what this podcast…right.
Brian Schoenborn 1:56
I’m coming back off from a brief hiatus. I had to take a little bit of break due to some family emergencies. But I’m posting up in the studio right now in Hollywood. A nice little spot. And we’re doing this one remote baby. Nick’s hanging out. Where are you? Where are you at? Are you in Montreal? Or?
Nick Bedard 2:14
I’m in Toronto, Canada.
Brian Schoenborn 2:15
Toronto. Right? Okay. Right on man. So, what brings you to Toronto? What What do you mean? What are you doing back there now?
Nick Bedard 2:22
Well, this is home for me. So after almost a decade of you know, traveling and and, you know, fulfilling journeys that I’ve always wanted to fulfill, I finally come back to my home base and used all of the knowledge used all of the experience to establish the career that I’m doing now, which I’m super excited about. I don’t want to spoil it right away. I guess we could start with kind of what brought me to Asia in the first place, because that’s kind of where the journey all began.
Brian Schoenborn 2:52
And so you said you spent what, like 10 years in Asia roughly.
Nick Bedard 2:56
In nearly a decade, yes.
Brian Schoenborn 2:58
So how do you make a decision to go from Canada, you know, Western, Western culture, you know, Western lifestyle. How do you make that decision to go, you know, take that jump from that to something probably completely different to you. I mean, I know I lived in Asia as well, and I had my own reasons for it. But that can be a pretty big move for people coming from other parts of the world.
Nick Bedard 3:22
It is and I didn’t grow up, you know, dreaming of going to Asia that wasn’t part of my, you know, plan after high school and, and going to journalism school and thinking, Well, you know, what, I’m gonna go cover some stuff in Asia that that was never part of the formula. What happened was, I wanted to be a sports writer, I was a pretty good High School athlete, played soccer, played basketball, you know, even badminton, football, and I was always kind of over achieving in these eSports. And oftentimes, I would be interviewed by the local journalists and I thought, Well, you know what, that that’d be a pretty cool job. I don’t think I’m going to be made In the NBA at all the basketball was my favorite sport. I spent, you know, countless hours just shooting 500 jump shots from from this corner and then 500 from that corner, you’re just going through these regiments of you try my best to be at that and kind of funneled into like journalism when I chose journalism as something I wanted to pursue. It was really it I really brought that that kind of mindset of those 500 jumpers from the corner to journalism where I wanted to learn everything about it. And and I wanted to cover basketball.
Nick Bedard 4:36
So when I was in journalism school, covering the school team, you know, traveling with them on the road games and really being like a beat writer for the local for the school paper that really excited me to you know, look at different options on where I can fit into this heavily competitive, you know, basketball journalist market. I was really lucky at the time because journalism was transitioning from kind of a print and broadcasting medium to the blogosphere where, you know, journalism was going to a really digital based medium or media per se. So I looked at that blogging was very young, having your own site was very young, that was very new. We’re talking about 2009. And and just to put that into perspective, I think YouTube started, you know, being popular around 2008. So everything was still kind of young and figuring itself out, so after journalism school, I really you know, I picked up a job as a copywriter for an advertising company, and that’s, that’s, it’s interesting, I say that because that’s gonna come full circle, but before we go too far. As a copywriter, that’s when I was kind of mapping this master plan of figuring out where I’m gonna fit into this kind of NBA, you know, journalist, a dream that I had. So the destination was, I want to be an NBA writer. I want to be an accredited NBA writer. I want the badge that says Nick Bedard NBA media, but it’s the journey that I had to figure out.
Brian Schoenborn 6:19
And so how did you like what did you? How did you figure out that Asia was the place to be?
Nick Bedard 6:26
Well, around that time, it was it was about 2010 2011 around the time that I started getting really serious about you know, shifting from the copywriting rolled back into what I wanted to do as my dream job per se. And and the NBA was in lockout at the time the collective bargaining agreement, so they were at the table with the owners and, and so there was a lockout in the league. And a lot of players were going to play in Turkey, a lot of players are willing to play in Greece, but that economy was also you know, still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. Europe was tanking. And and some say it hasn’t really recovered yet. Right?
Nick Bedard 7:08
So so I didn’t really see much happening there, in the sense of, you know, try and kind of fit into this, this this role. There were already people kind of covering the league, but not really because, you know, a lot of cuts were being made to the media industry there. And it just didn’t seem as exciting to me. So then I thought, well, what about college ball seeing as how there’s no NBA, maybe I can kind of, but I’m in Canada, right? I’m in Toronto at the time, so that there really there isn’t really an NCAA presence here.
Brian Schoenborn 7:38
Nick Bedard 7:39
What I did see and this was during the time where Jeremy Lin was was was coming out and he was having his fame. Yao Ming was was already established. And I saw some of the players signed these ridiculously high contracts. We’re talking about like, six figures or seven figures over in China. And and we’re talking about guys like J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin who grew up on the streets and kind of have that, you know, that cultural attitude that that, that that that really like, is kind of the opposite of that strict attitude that’s in China.
Nick Bedard 8:15
So I thought, Wow, what a story. These guys are going over there and not giving a shit about anything. We’re just going to call it can I swear here?
Brian Schoenborn 8:23
Dude, you can say whatever the fuck you want.
Nick Bedard 8:26
I’m sorry, but they don’t give a shit. They’re going over there to collecting their paycheck while these owners figure it out. And as far as rules and regulations, I’m just showing up to play. And that’s it. I mean, I heard this one story about Kenyon Martin first meeting the owner of a team over there, and he had his shoes on the table. He had his he had his Beats headphones on and the owners come to say like, Hey, we’re happy to have yours again, whatever, whatever. Just give me the ball. Nobody’s covering this. This is hilarious. So I thought okay, you know, I I I know I know where I need to go, I know where it needs to go. But I don’t know how to do it yet.
Nick Bedard 9:06
So I needed to come up with the kind of brand and come up with a website. And working in copywriting. I was around people that were doing web dev, I was around people that were buying domain names for clients and so on. So I really had a good insight on on the marketing side of it and the development side of it from from where I was working. So I was kind of positioned in a, in a good place where I could learn kind of how to take that next step. And then I went to a blogging conference in Toronto, where they had a bunch of sports bloggers and Mind you, this is very new at the time, you know, Jamil Hill was there from ESPN, a few other like Sports Illustrated writers that were there. And it was a conference where we didn’t really know what was going on, but we knew something was coming up. You know, we were talking about the early stages of SB Nation or Bleacher Report. So I thought, well, you know if I could follow that and do my own thing, that that could probably catapult me into to Asia and I can bring that kind of blog brand with me. No, not blog in the sense of what I had for breakfast but blog in the sense that this is what I’m covering, you know, as part of, of what a newspaper sports section would be. You know what I mean?
Brian Schoenborn 10:19
Absolutely. Oh, that’s where Basketball Buddha came about, right?
Nick Bedard 10:22
That’s, that’s where I got the idea. I needed a brand. I needed a name. I thought okay, basketball in asia.com. Boring. Basketball with characteristics.com. You know? And then I was like, Okay, well, you know, basketball is kind of a religion to me at the time was really invested into it. And what’s kind of the religion in in in Asia, the shared kind of, it’s the Buddha, right everyone kind of thinks of the Buddha as kind of India, kind of Thailand, kind of China, kind of Korea, a little bit Japan. So I was like, okay, BasketballBuddha.com.
Nick Bedard 10:58
So I reached out to a a high school friend of mine who is in you know, graphics design and said hey, I need a logo. This is what I’m thinking. Actually my logo is based off a photo of Jamil or Jamal McGee. I think it’s Jamil McGee.
Brian Schoenborn 11:15
Nick Bedard 11:15
Plays for the Lakers, JaVale McGee Yeah. And he jumped up while he was in China or something and did this kind of Buddha pose and I was like wait is if you look at my if you look at my logo basketballbuddha.com and you look at you know, Google search Javale McGee jumping Buddhist stance, you’ll see where I got kind of my my my idea from so you know I was really at the drawing table researching a lot, what angle, but but I had everything kind of figured out here. Now I needed really, to figure out the itinerary part of it.
Nick Bedard 11:51
Okay, so so I’ve got a few bucks saved up from my job. got about two-three grand. How do I turn? You know, how do I do? turn this into, you know, covering a whole season.
Brian Schoenborn 12:04
Nick Bedard 12:05
I looked at China, I said, Well, you know, it’s a big country, the teams are scattered all across the the country. And if I wanted to travel from from A to B to Z, that’s going to cost a lot. It’s gonna take a lot of time, it’s gonna take a lot of resources that I don’t really have at the moment. So so so China was, while China was where all the action was, I couldn’t really do it at the time. It just didn’t make sense. Okay?
Nick Bedard 12:31
So I looked at Japan and Japan, right. It’s kind of expensive over there. Right? So the third option is, is there a basketball league in Korea? Well, I knew nothing about Korea, absolutely nothing. So I was like, Okay, well, what’s going on over here and then and then Gangnam Style came out. Psy, remember that?
Brian Schoenborn 12:52
Nick Bedard 12:52
And that blew up. So I was like, oh, there’s something going on over there. Has nothing to do with basketball, but there’s a league and it’s close enough to China that I can kind of be awake during the Chinese games and watch them and cover them. So I was like okay, a real pass a real pass for for Korea cost 300 bucks and you could travel for like six months unlimited. You know you could stay in these these motels. They call them love motels. So oftentimes, you know, someone I flew there, I checked into this motel with like, a heart shaped jacuzzi. I was like, this is not bad for 40 bucks, you know? I could take this. And then I traveled to another one where it was like m&m themed like M&M wallpaper and like not Eminem the rapper, but like the the candy.
Brian Schoenborn 13:42
Nick Bedard 13:45
These are really interesting.
Brian Schoenborn 13:46
So there’s like all sorts of themed hotels in Korea?
Nick Bedard 13:51
They call them love. They called love motels.
Brian Schoenborn 13:53
So why don’t you explain to the listeners what a love motel is?
Nick Bedard 13:57
I had no idea what it was. I just booked these on booking.com there’s a cheap motel, my own room with Wi Fi. I was like, okay, that’s pretty cool. Like I was thinking about doing the hostel thing, but I didn’t want to be interrupted. I was really serious about kind of staying up all night and writing to go and back and bring the photos, bring on my notes and do some editing and do some brainstorming and write articles. So that’s that’s the reason so when I flew to Korea, and I landed I went to check in and that’s the one in Seoul where it had the heart shape jacuzzi. Now so I go, Okay, this is pretty cool. I could dig this. I could dig this a couple condoms there and I’m like, Alright, well I kind of know what this is for. It’s probably for young lovers looking.
Brian Schoenborn 14:39
This is amazing.
Nick Bedard 14:40
Yeah. But there was a huge like 55 inch flatscreen LG TV I was like whoa man. It surprised me that I didn’t come out of the wall because this place is like LED lights and stuff. It was really like a is like that. It was like a red dim light. Pretty cool whatever man like. Yeah, so. So that’s that’s kind of what brought me to Asia in the first place. And that’s what made me choose Korea as my starter point.
Brian Schoenborn 15:12
Interesting. So how long? How long are you in Korea? Where were you were in Seoul?
Nick Bedard 15:17
Well, I was in Seoul to start. So I spent a weekend salted, gather my stuff, get over the jetlag. And then the season was about to begin. Now I had no media credentials. I was writing a couple articles about Tracy McGrady signing with a Chinese basketball shoe brand. I was writing a couple articles that like Dwayne Wade was in a cell phone commercial in China, just anything to get my website going. It wasn’t anything relevant but you know, just so I had something to add on to and and when I got to Seoul, the league started in a week now it’s a six month League, so I plan to be there for six months.
Brian Schoenborn 15:57
Nick Bedard 15:57
And in that time, I was to travel Using my rail pass that I paid 300 bucks for it’s a company called KTX and it’s kind of like Amtrak where it’ll take you anywhere but you but with this with this rail pass that’s only accessible to foreigners you can travel the the entire you know country within six months it was perfect.
Brian Schoenborn 16:19
Nick Bedard 16:19
$300 Rail Pass unlimited unlimited it’s like a monthly membership to the yeah and it’s to kind of it’s subsidized for foreigners so that you could explore the country a little bit.
Brian Schoenborn 16:31
Encourage tourism and stuff like that? Sure.
Nick Bedard 16:33
So that’s what I took advantage of that. And and as the season started, I covered a game and soul now I was sitting I was sitting courtside because courtside seats were super cheap. It was like 25 bucks 525 to 30 bucks. And and these are big like arenas like we have like it’s not the Staples Center or it or Madison Square Garden. We were talking about it is kind of like a glorified high school gym where there’s about 5000 fans, you know, with a bunch of mascots and a lot of cheerleaders, you know? Kpop Kpop is big over there. So they integrated that with the cheerleaders and so on.
Brian Schoenborn 17:12
So I’ve never been to a Korean basketball game, but I was in, I spent some time in Busan I went to a baseball game there. It was right was the Lotte Giants. It was funny like it was. The stadium was about half full. And everybody was seated behind the home team’s dugout.
Nick Bedard 17:32
Brian Schoenborn 17:33
And the reason why…
Nick Bedard 17:34
and on top of the dugout…
Brian Schoenborn 17:36
top of the dugout, we’re like, between three and five just absolutely gorgeous cheerleaders standing on top, they’ve got their own cheer for every single batter every single player they’ve got their own. They’ve got their own fucking moves. Get all these horny baseball fans like what are you there for? Are you watching the game or are you enjoying the scenery?
Nick Bedard 17:57
Exactly, no, it’s it had very little to do with the game but a lot to do with the entertainment that’s, that’s between between batters or between plays or during a timeout or something. So, you know, we have the mascot flying out of a cannon going to do a dunk and stuff. And they have, you know, the mascot, you know, kind of like dancing like Kpop stars. Right so so No, it was really interesting when I first got there now I wasn’t I didn’t have any media credentials. So I was just kind of documenting stuff from courtside. I had a camera I was taking photos. So I wasn’t doing any interviews or anything. I was just my my angle was what’s it like watching a bath professional basketball game in South Korea? That’s where my base base was.
Nick Bedard 18:48
So in Seoul, it’s like this. In almost Ousan. It’s like this in Jeungju. It’s like this in Busan. It’s like this. So a little bit of time. different experiences from different cities that that hosts a professional basketball teams in South Korea. And in tracking all my audience with Google Analytics, you know, working in the advertising firm as a copywriter, I got to know these tools a little bit. I got to know what keywords mean and stuff like that. So I was tracking this. And I was seeing Okay, where’s the audience coming from and a lot of it was Korean Americans, specifically Korean Americans who were playing ball and were interested in the NBA but also wanted some ties to back home.
Brian Schoenborn 19:34
Nick Bedard 19:35
Another angle. And I’m kind of going ahead of myself here. But another angle I saw was a lot of college, college basketball fans who are following guys who weren’t drafted in the NBA but signed in a foreign country, whether it be Spain, whether it be Greece or whether it be South Korea, they wanted some news about the guy who played out at New Mexico State University or San Diego State University, and they want to know what he’s doing now because he was lighting it up at their school. So those are kind of the two angles that I saw early. And I kind of pushed my my content towards that the early adopters.
Brian Schoenborn 20:16
Was that before the D league really got going, or the G league or whatever it’s called, or?
Nick Bedard 20:21
It was the D league at the time, and the D league was still there. But you don’t make as much money as you do playing professional ball in the D League, as you do in South Korea. So in a D League, you might make 50 grand a year. Back then it was probably 35-40. You don’t make a lot. In in Korea for an entire season. You’re banking 250 K to 400 K.
Brian Schoenborn 20:48
Nick Bedard 20:49
You know, so it’s a big difference. Mind you. The idea of transitioning your professional career from the D league to the NBA is much more appealing. Because you’re there, you’re playing for the farm team. But if you’re just committed for the money, perhaps you’re going to go play somewhere else and give up that kind of NBA dream because not a lot of players, go play in China or go play in Korea, and then go to the NBA. Does that mean it’s never happened? No, it’s happened Sure, depending on the age and and so on. But once you kind of leave America and go play ball, pro ball somewhere else out of college, and you’re not drafted, your chances of making the NBA are pretty slim.
Brian Schoenborn 21:33
Yeah. So you don’t really hear too much about it. Unless maybe Spain like the Spain League, might be a couple like, you know
Nick Bedard 21:40
or the D league, or the D, if you’re willing to grind it out. And and and, and collect that 50 K a year. And just and just, you know, travel on buses and stay at the motel six and, and and the rigorous life of you know, it’s kind of like the opening band for you know, the lead act, right? You’re not a star, but you’re the opener and maybe if you get enough audience, you could be the star, you know. But but it’s, it’s, it’s a journey It is so so a lot of players will give up that destination of NBA and follow the money. And the money really is in China. It really is in Korea. It’s in Japan. And the cost of living is lower. As you know, you lived in China, so the cost of living is lower.
Brian Schoenborn 22:28
The dollar goes a lot further over there.
Nick Bedard 22:31
Brian Schoenborn 22:32
What are some? Cuz I mean, sighs I mean, I’ve been to Korea twice, but I’ve only spent maybe, like, totally, like two weeks there. What are I mean, so as you’re traveling around to these different cities, you know, what are some of the things that kind of stood out to you? You know, do you have any, like, you got some good stories of something that like, you know, maybe you’re trying to get someplace and just something really surprised you or you struggle with something like I know you got some I see you nodding.
Nick Bedard 23:00
It was really interesting for me because I didn’t really have a job, right? So during the day during the day, I wasn’t really going to work. I wasn’t going to an office, my work really started at like 6pm on game day. So during the day, I’d kind of go out and go around. But there are a lot of old people in South Korea, you know, because that’s what I saw. I was I was like, like, during the there during the day, everyone’s in work or in school. So I was kind of hanging out with the older people. I would go to grab a coffee or something. It’s a bunch of old people just shooting the shit or something like that. Or if I was going to the mall is trying to go shopping a lot of old people, so I didn’t really have that kind of the same experience as somebody who kind of works there and lives there and so on.
Nick Bedard 23:46
I guess my first impressions it were it’s really hilly, there’s a lot of mountains, not, not big mountains, but it’s not as flat as Toronto.
Brian Schoenborn 23:56
Nick Bedard 23:57
In California. You guys have a lot of mountains and hills and so on. So it’s probably different for someone from that perspective, but I saw a lot of mountain I thought that was pretty cool. The cities are kind of built on mountains. Yeah, that was pretty cool. Busan was really nice.
Brian Schoenborn 24:14
Busan’s cool, yeah.
Nick Bedard 24:15
One thing one thing that really popped off about Korea is their advancement in technology. Their Wi Fi was everywhere you’re always connected. Televisions, it was state of the art um you know you go to you go to have noodles at some you know dive noodle bar and they’ll be like a 65 inch like flat screen TV with like high definition and the place is pumping with surround sound. They they really take pride in their technology and you know the the the transportation system in Seoul is fantastic. And it’s it’s got TVs in it and stuff like the tech is is awesome. They were really advanced in technology.
Brian Schoenborn 24:59
That’s Samsung for ya, huh? You know, I wonder, instead of talking about the old people, I just talk about these old people it just reminds me of being in Beijing you know, you see these usually right about the time dusk starts to happen when it just starts getting dark. At almost every city corner, sidewalk corner, you see just like dozens of old like, grandmother’s dancing, we call them the dancing grannies. They’re everywhere. Is there anything like that, that you saw over there?
Nick Bedard 25:30
Yeah, a lot but they do it indoors. They don’t have these kinds of more. I mean, they do it outside but not as much as China. They have these like bars that are like like these nightclubs that are just for old people like old people. swingers type deal.
Brian Schoenborn 25:44
Nick Bedard 25:44
Yeah, there’s like 65 and up swingers Come on in.
Brian Schoenborn 25:49
Oh, come on!
Nick Bedard 25:51
And I mistakenly, mistakenly popped into one of those thinking, oh this space is happening you know?
Brian Schoenborn 26:01
Y’all try to get with one of them like, Hey, what’s up, girl? What’s your name is?
Nick Bedard 26:04
Yeah, right. Yeah, exactly. No, no, but no, it was a really good experience. So So I played out I was there for six months. And within that six months, I my website was getting a little bit of traction. It was it was getting more popular. I started with getting into AdSense, which for people who don’t know what AdSense is, you know, those annoying banners on media sites? So those banners are there from from AdSense. So essentially a brand will try to run display advertising on new sites. And we as new sites would allow those banners to run across our our website. So that’s a sense of revenue. So I thought okay, I’ve got 10 million uniques…uh 10,000 uniques per month at the time when I started I could kind of monetize. So I started doing that.
Nick Bedard 27:04
And then some of the foreigners, I was I was seeing when I was back in Seoul and kind of I kind of knew where they would go hang out in a place called like Itaewon, which is where the military bases. So so I kind of see those basketball players. I’m like, Hey, I’m the basketball Buddha guy. And they’re like, Who are you? I’m, I’m covering the league, right? So introducing I’d love to, you know, is so big that I go hit me up after a game one time and I’ll give you Yeah, so cool. So I kind of started being like a social butterfly and really involved in the league. And that was really cool. It was a great experience six months. So I had my sight. I had my side going, come the offseason. I had no reason to stay there. So So I came back to to Toronto to kind of regroup. Say, okay, what’s next? Maybe I’ll go back next year. But I was quickly called, I was quickly called by somebody that I met at the game. So sitting so somebody had passed on my website to the vice commissioner of the league, who had two kids studying in, in Canada. So look, I love what you’re doing.
Nick Bedard 28:25
After seeing what you’ve reported, I think it’s great for the league to come back next year. We’ll grant your full media access. We’ll have a media card for you. We want you to keep covering the league. We don’t know what your plans are right now. But we’d love that in the back next year. If you want to do it again.
Nick Bedard 28:41
Great. Awesome. So, so I kept myself busy. You know, I went back to that that, you know, copywriting job, which which sucked because, you know, I knew I was leaving within, in like eight months, right? But I hey give me another chance? And they did. So so. So then that flew by and I was still covering offseason stuff where NBA players would travel to China or travel to Korea. And I was I knew where to get my new sources from now. So you know, Korea has their own Korean language, basketball forums were they and it was as easy as me just copy pasting the article, putting it into translator taking words out and taking the kind of story out and kind of writing it in my own style. I was doing that for Korean news. And I was doing that for Chinese basketball news. So you could call it plagiarism. Fine. Yeah. And at the time, at the time, no one was doing it. Now everyone’s just spinning articles all over the place right now you’re seeing you know, the same article rewritten 100 million different ways but at the time, it was very, very new. So I yeah, I I was doing that and that kept the website going. For for the offseason, come next come next season I was back in Korea. This time I had immediate pass. I was talking to the journalists that were in Korea. They knew who I was. They’re like, yeah, cool. I made really good connections there, which and then I had access to the players. I had more access to the coaches and so on. And I spoke a little bit of Korean, not much, but I’m spoken enough to get by enough.
Nick Bedard 30:26
And and they were looking for writers and and the guy who was you know, covering sports for China Daily, also a Canadian, said hey, why don’t you come on over. We’ve got we’ve always got spots available for journalists. I’ll put you in contact. I said great. Didn’t think too much of it but two months later, I you know, I got a chance. They said yeah, we want we want you to come over and interview and so on. So that’s that’s that’s kind of where, and I didn’t talk too much about the Asian Olympics is a great experience. It was a daunting, daunting work schedule. I mean, all day from 10am to 10pm just covering hoops, which I love. But my god was that tiring because after covering, you have to go back to editing. And you can be up to two in the morning and then you do it all over again for 10 days.
So that come and timing is everything here. The Asian Olympics, which in Canada is kind of equivalent to the Pan American Games. Have you heard of that? Yep. The Asian Olympics came around, and I was hired by the Asian Olympic Committee to cover the basketball nice, which was crits as though they found me they contacted me. They said we know we do. We love what you’re doing with Asian basketball. You’re the perfect fit for this role. We’re trying to find one journalist to cover for our website for each sport. And we’d like you to be that guy. It wasn’t high paying it. They put me in media, they put me in media village. It was super cool. It was great experience. From there, I met a lot of journalists from China from Japan and so on. And that is where I was I got a connection to China Daily which is in Beijing.
Brian Schoenborn 32:12
Nick Bedard 32:12
Brian Schoenborn 32:13
You know what’s crazy about all that is I mean, you’re telling the story and it’s just it’s amazing to me how like, you know, you want to do something, right? You want to be you want to be a journalist, you want to cover basketball, like, you know, like, deep down in your heart. This is what you want to do. And regardless of whether you’ve got credentials, or whatever else, you’re like, Fuck this. I’m doing it. I’m like, I’m not gonna let anybody stop me. Right?
Nick Bedard 32:38
Brian Schoenborn 32:39
And you fucking did it your own little gorilla, gorilla journalism style.
Nick Bedard 32:44
Speaking of which, speaking of which, this is where everything kind of comes together. So after this grind of covering Korean Basketball League for a year from from from courtside. To the grind of covering another year from press row to the grind of covering the Asian Olympics. That’s where I met the NBA Korea writer. So the the guy who’s in charge of NBA Korea, all content, NBA Korea, NBAkorea.com, something like that. He said, Well, I also do a magazine here in South Korea, and we cover NBA, it’s an NBA magazine in Korean. We would like you to do, we would like you to come on as a columnist to write an opinion piece for every month, every edition, and we will grant you NBA media credentials.
Brian Schoenborn 33:38
Nick Bedard 33:39
So that’s where and then it was like, wow, two years. Everything just it happened. You know, some people would wait 10 years, 15 years, get coffee for that guy, plug this printer in, and kind of work their way up the ranks and in a newspaper, but in two years, I finally had NBA credentials, due to the guy who saw the work I was doing at the Asian game said I’m an NBA writer. I know you’re friends with this guy who’s who’s covering the Korean Basketball League. We would like some sort of partnership here. And and it was awesome, man. I was like, great. So I kept, so I did a monthly column for them. And if ever I was going back to Toronto, I had my NBA press card and I could go interview players on the Toronto Raptors or the visiting team.
Nick Bedard 34:28
So I remember one time. The first time I was an NBA journalist with my press card, I got the email saying yep you’re on the list. You’re back in Toronto. There’s your press. I was doing a story from a on a on a bench player like the 12th Man of the Toronto Raptors. And he played in the Korean Basketball League for a year. So there’s kind of a connection there. And that was where my kind of opinion piece came was, was, uh, okay. What was it like playing in South Korean what’s it like playing in the NBA? And and what are the main differences? I could say it from a journalist perspective, but not many people could say it as a player’s perspective.
Brian Schoenborn 35:10
Nick Bedard 35:11
Right? So it was really interesting to to get into the locker room interview a Greg Stiesman, and who I believe went to Nebraska or Wisconsin. But anyways, that that was kind of my first experience as an NBA journalist. So in two years, this kind of crazy plan that was kind of formulated from blogs with balls, which was the bloggers conference that I went to. And two years later, I’m an NBA journalist, so it was really a dream come true is of huge accomplishment.
Brian Schoenborn 35:45
Wow. That’s awesome, dude. I just again, it’s that it’s that hustle dude is that you know, the guerrilla warfare style. You know, I’m gonna I’m going to bob and weave and go places where you don’t think you’re going to be seen and just Shit opens up, dude, that’s crazy. Um, so you met you mentioned that you that you got that call from China Daily. So, for those of you that are not familiar, China Daily is they have Chinese news, but they have English news as well, but it’s a really big English news outlet in China, it’s a giant Chinese propaganda machine, if you will. So what was the like, you know, when you went from Korea to Beijing, like what was you know, what was, first, I mean, first, what was it like in being a propagandist for the, for the powers that be? Because journalism is different in China. It’s, you know, like in America, for example, free speech and all that it’s, you know, it’s, it’s finding facts or, you know, sharing your opinion or whatever it is, you know, calling the government out or whatever else the case may be. In China, it’s more like the from my Understanding more like the official mouthpiece of the government.
Nick Bedard 37:04
Right and and there are a few different outlets that are the mouthpiece of the government. Aljazeera is kind of, you know, Qatar’s version of that rt.com is, you know, Putin’s version of that if you want you know, NPR is kind of kind of the mouthpiece of the US, but it’s it’s not totally funded by the government. They take donations and so on. I think they do a really good job with their content but nevertheless, they’re they’re a wing of the so on. Now, some some are more extreme like rt.com or and in China, every single media outlet is the mouthpiece of, of the government right there. There isn’t an independently own news outlet. But you know, I didn’t I didn’t really look at that angle at the time.
Nick Bedard 37:57
For me what it was, is Wow, a journalism, you know, a journalism grad who started as a blogger. And now I’m working for one of the most, you know, the, the highest, you know, delivered paper in the world, a publication wise their numbers are through the roof because the reach is just so huge, right? I didn’t look at it as you know, the official mouthpiece or a propaganda thing. I was thinking, wow, I’m officially a journalist. Now, I’m not I’m not a blogger, not a magazine opinion piece. I am a journalist. And I wasn’t a sports journalist, they actually threw me on culture. They threw me on culture. So I was like, okay, no, that’s cool. I’m a writer, as a writer, a journalist is journalist. I could still do basketball Buddha on the side.
Brian Schoenborn 38:45
Nick Bedard 38:46
I’m in China now. And I could use kind of my journalism credentials from China Daily to have access to the CBA the Chinese Basketball Association, right. And at the time, Stephon Marbury was there highly popular. So you want to talk about like traffic and clicks to your website. Stephon Marbury is a God for that. He will get you clicks galore because the type of stuff that he does in China is like what? He’s got a statue outside outside the Wukesong arena, which is the home arena of the Beijing ducks. So this guy
Brian Schoenborn 39:26
I wanna talk about Marbury for a second because you know he’s an he’s an interesting he’s got an interesting story, right? Like he had his career in the NBA and he was a perennial All Star right like he was. He was a stud wasn’t you know, it wasn’t a goat. Right? But like he was a legitimate star. NBA lockout happened
Nick Bedard 39:47
at one point in time, Brian, sorry to cut you off. But he was he was the the scoring champ of the NBA. Nobody in the NBA scored more than Marbury. He was a perennial, all star.
Brian Schoenborn 40:02
Nick Bedard 40:03
He was in Brooklyn, Brooklyn’s kid type thing, right? You know, from the big market of New York and they’ve got their basketball superstar, right. I was covering the Beijing Ducks. I started and I gotta thank Diane from InFront because she she worked hard to get me that press credential. Getting press credentials for anything in China is very difficult. You know, you’ve got to be vetted, you’ve got a promise to you know, only write good things type thing, but she kind of worked the sports and InFront is like the branding firm of the CBA. Like a lot of brands in America will have their marketing agency. So I guess InFront was kind of their marketing agency and that’s how I got, you know, shoved into the meat is because they they also decided who gets press credentials and so on. So she got me in and she was really cool.
Nick Bedard 41:06
I was covering the Chinese Basketball League only in Beijing. I wasn’t traveling because I was working full time and after work, I’d go to the games on a Monday on a Tuesday or Thursday night. At first, Marbury wanted nothing to do with me. Absolutely nothing to do with me. I thought, Hey, he’s going to see another foreigner. This is going to be awesome. I say I’m going to be able to because I’ve been able to relate with other foreigners in Korea easily.
Brian Schoenborn 41:38
Nick Bedard 41:38
They’ve always wanted to talk to me. Marbury is gonna be this same. He just a cold shoulder. Nothing to do with me. It was very difficult to get him to say anything and it’s lasted for like half the season. And I couldn’t go like hey, Dianne. He doesn’t want to talk to me. Why couldn’t go Hey, coach. Why is it? No, at the end of the day, it’s his own decision. He doesn’t want to talk to you, he doesn’t want to talk to you. I, he, I have nothing against him. He had nothing. He didn’t know me. I didn’t know him. He just didn’t want to talk to me. So I was like, I was like, Okay, I’m going to cover the other guy, which is Randolph Morris, and we’re going to kind of kick it off there. And maybe Marbury will come in. Yes. I found out that there has been major negative press on Marbury from the United States. Okay. And there’s been absolutely great press from Marbury in China.
Brian Schoenborn 42:35
Nick Bedard 42:36
So who is he gonna want to talk to the guy who looks American or the guy who looks Chinese?
Brian Schoenborn 42:40
Nick Bedard 42:41
He’s not gonna want to talk to me because he thinks I’m there to write another stupid, you know, Marbury piece. No, it forgot about it. He doesn’t want to go into those waters. So half a year. I’m talking to Morris. I’m covering the games. Finally I come out with a Marbury piece. Okay, I got Morris talking about him. Got Sun Yue, who played with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, got a ring. I got Sun Yue way talking about them. I’ve got enough understanding of what Marbury is like on the basketball court to really have a basketball story about Marbury without any of the stuff off the court that he’s doing in Beijing. I didn’t want to I didn’t want to go into that. I just wanted to cover his abilities as a professional basketball player, and what he’s like as a teammate.
Brian Schoenborn 43:26
Nick Bedard 43:26
Once that story came out, the very next practice, Hey, man, love the story. Who are you? Working for who and so then I said, hey look man, I’m just this guy. I got this website. I’m doing this. All right, respect, respect, respect. And then and then he still didn’t he still kind of hesitant to talk to me, but he had he had like a trainer there from Germany, that was just Marbury’s trainer, and you take care of his body and so on. And so so he got close to me. So I kind of slow it wasn’t until playoff time that I could really go up to Marbury after a game and ask him any question.
Brian Schoenborn 44:05
Hmm That’s crazy. Yeah, he got shit on man. He got shit on pretty hard towards the end of his NBA career. And then but then he came back you know in China man I mean he you know, he won what three titles in four years I think with Beijing Ducks? That’s that’s why they got a statue. I mean, he’s he’s like a Kobe rest in peace or, or Jordan or whatever over in China, man. It’s crazy. He’s like, China’s fucking number one foreign son basically. Like,
Nick Bedard 44:33
let me tell you some about Marbury
Brian Schoenborn 44:35
Wasn’t he like the first to get a green card or something right.
Nick Bedard 44:37
He took care of his body number one.
Brian Schoenborn 44:39
Nick Bedard 44:40
Really took care of his body. Okay, and the any CBA the Chinese Basketball Association season is not the 82 season of NBA. They’re playing 40 games. So it’s cut in half. Okay. He understood as a point guard understood the game enough that he knew exactly when to get his teammates involved and when to just take it to the rack and and and he would do the ladder a lot. He knew he could beat anybody in that league and he was fearless in in driving and just finishing up the hoop or getting fouls or so on. wasn’t the best shooter. But he didn’t need to be. He was such a good floor general that it was amazing. Like his crossover, his his speed his his stop and starts. It was just amazing to see and there were a lot of other foreign point guards that came in, but they couldn’t handle the strength, the stop and starts, the willingness to go the hoop. A lot of the foreign point guards on time were just bombing threes.
Nick Bedard 45:48
Right? Bombing threes, bombing threes. But Marbury was like relentless. He’ll go right down and just like he’ll knee you in the heart before laying it up and he’ll get the call. Yeah, he was just fearless. And it was it it was a really cool playing style. And I thought to myself, well, how long can this last, you know, as he’s getting older, but he was so good at taking care of his body and he had this that trainer from Germany, who was so good at kind of, you know, getting his body, you know, ready for the next game or ready in the offseason, he was always in fantastic shape. And he was just super smart. So So that’s, that’s where that’s where he had his success on the floor. Everything outside of that was kind of played off his success on the floor. Right? What’s the successful basketball player in China doing outside? Well, I mean, he can be doing anything. And they’ll be like, yeah, that’s awesome. So So finally, I remember going to Blue Frog, which is kind of the In-n-Out of Beijing.
Brian Schoenborn 45:48
Brian Schoenborn 46:47
Oh, Blue Frog! That’s right.
Nick Bedard 46:50
Yeah, yeah, since I went there.
Brian Schoenborn 46:51
So those are those are actually it’s hard to find good Western food in China. Those are some decent, let’s decent burgers right there. And there. Huge like, I mean, those patties are what like two three inches to like, you know, five centimeters thick? Something like that. They’re huge. Yeah, the place is great.
Nick Bedard 47:08
So Marbury and and the other foreign player who was living there at the time, Randolph Morris, was hurt. So they brought in Damien Wilkins, who is Dominique Wilkins, his nephew.
Brian Schoenborn 47:21
Nick Bedard 47:22
Right. So so I was doing an interview with Damien. He was super, you know, open. He said, Yeah, come on over. This is where I live. You come over to my condo. And he was in Wangfujing. Right. So so they went they were in the Oriental Hotel in Wangfujing. They had it was like a hotel that they were in suites, kitchenettes and everything. So I did an interview with Damien Wilkins there. And afterwards, the translator from Marbury, who is kind of Marbury’s agent as well in China came in and he was kind of taking care of Damien at the time as well. He said, Hey, we’re all going to Blue Frog you want to join us? So that was like kind of my first real outside of basketball interaction with Marbury. So we’re driving there. And I gotta tell you, Brian, I totally choked. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t know what to say. So I said nothing. I just ate my burger. And I didn’t want to talk to him. I just let them have their thing. And I was a silent observer. I was gonna write an article about it but I had nothing, right, because I didn’t do anything. I just I totally choked. I totally choked.
Brian Schoenborn 48:33
Oh, you got starstruck. I get it.
Nick Bedard 48:37
Brian Schoenborn 48:38
That’s funny. I, I found for me, I found that the best way to keep me from getting starstruck is well, one is just treat everybody like they’re people. Right? But like, secondly is do as little research as possible and whoever these people are. So I can just fucking ask them any sort of bullshit question, and if they look at me like I’m dumb. I’m like, I don’t know you’re just a guy.
Nick Bedard 49:02
I was so used to the mass preparation, what’s the angle going to be for this interview? What’s the angle going to be for this job? After the game, what questions am I going to ask? That, that when I when I didn’t have any preparation, I didn’t know how to kind of approach it. And I didn’t want to do anything. I don’t want to ask anything that was like outside of the line. So we just hung out. And afterwards, we used to go out drinking at like Elements and stuff like that, like I found out Marbury was was just a regular laowai, which is the Chinese word for foreigner, just like you and I. Like, he likes going out and having a good time and stuff like that. And he is a pretty cool dude.
Brian Schoenborn 49:41
Yeah, people are people, man. At the end of the day. I mean, you know, everyone’s pretty much the same. People do different things. They’ve got different ways of going about things, but they’ve all got the same basic needs, right? They want to, you know, take care of the family, have fun, and maybe make a better life for themselves. Right. So Yeah, it’s uh that’s cool man so you’d go out with Marbury quite a bit. Did that relationship with him and like and like you know understanding that level of dedication and physical fitness and stuff, like did that kind of lead you towards the boxing scene or what happened there? How did that work? Because you because you kind of shot up out of nowhere you went from nowhere to like the box to the Beijing city champ, dude.
Nick Bedard 50:26
After that season, the first season CBA in China, I was done with a contract that China Daily I got an offer to do radio, which I was super excited about because I’ve always been a podcast fan. And I took that opportunity, you know, it more money. It was. I was I was, and this is how I met you because my job was to be a field reporter. I had a segment called Nick on the Streets.
Brian Schoenborn 50:53
Oh yeah, Nick on the Streets, baby. I remember that show.
Nick Bedard 50:57
So so the job title the description was Hey, We just want you to go and export culture in Beijing and get a foreigners perspective on it. And I totally twisted it and turn it into its Nick on the streets and say, Hey, I’m over here in a Wangfujing with my friend Brian, who’s, you know, a former Marine in the United States and Trump is president. And we’re going to ask him about that and pretend like there’s a bunch of stuff going on behind us and like, you know, because it’s a radio, right? It’s theater of the mind. So there’s so it’s like, it’s just you and I standing in a parking lot.
Brian Schoenborn 51:37
That was when Trump visited China, right. Like,
Nick Bedard 51:39
that was when Trump visited China’s to Trump hadn’t recently been elected. It was his first state trip to China. And and we were talking about and you know, who better to have on then a then a former Marine. So that’s, that’s when you made your appearance on Nick on the Streets.
Brian Schoenborn 51:56
Nick Bedard 51:56
So I had that segment. I was I was finding Different things from Monday to Friday to go, which was a grind because you know, we’re going to talk about it. Like I said, I just had to find events going on and just push my way inside of it and say, Hey, I’m here. And this is who I’m talking to. And this is what’s going on. And is my 10 minutes up yet? Oh my god, it is back to you in the studio. It was awesome. I loved it. It was so i’d record that, I’d edit it, I’d run it back to the studio just in time for the five o’clock show.
Brian Schoenborn 52:34
I was trying to remember if when I interviewed with you on your show, if it was about the Trump thing, or if it was about the sports stuff.
Nick Bedard 52:42
We did a few different ones. I believe there were two or three of them. I did but it was always a different topic. That’s what I liked about the what I did is I always talked about something fresh, something new.
Brian Schoenborn 52:52
Yep. Remember when I did the you know, so did that Manchester produce that manchester united and arsenal. Sorry, Manchester United Liverpool event in Melbourne, right?
Nick Bedard 53:07
Brian Schoenborn 53:07
I remember. Remember you ever were hanging out, dude. It was me, you and Tyler, another friend of ours. And I got this call this guy that I’ve met when I was working for this media company in Beijing. And he’s from like Australia, but he’s i don’t i don’t even know his last name. But his name is costar. And he calls me He’s like, Hey, he’s like, mate. He’s like, I’m in Beijing. I’m in a hotel. I’m just come hang out. And I’m like, eyy creeped out about it. And I’m like, Dude, it’s, it’s me and like two other dudes like, yeah, just bring them all over. We’ll hang out. We’ll have drinks. I’m like, like, Dude, why you just come to a bar with us? He’s like, Nah, mate. Like, just come on. Remember as I’ll skeeved out about it. But so
Nick Bedard 53:51
Brian Schoenborn 53:51
We took the risk anyways, and we went and
Nick Bedard 53:54
he was he staying at the Intercontinental?
Brian Schoenborn 53:56
I think so. Yeah, but it was in the suite, like the Presidential Suite. That was like What the hell’s this guy doing?
Nick Bedard 54:01
I think he was in the penthouse. Yeah, it was like a Malaysian businessman.
Brian Schoenborn 54:06
But he’s from Australia, but he’s like, Malaysia or Cambodia, I don’t know, somewhere in Southeast Asia. And we all get together. And he found out that uh, the years that you do sports journalism and that Tyler had done some stuff related to like tennis and so other stuff. And he’s like oh he’s like, he’s like, Hey, you guys want to talk about this event? Put on this show? And me being the entrepreneur trying to figure out what the hell my path was, at that point. Nothing to do with sports. I was like fuck it. Let’s do it.
Nick Bedard 54:42
I remember that. I remember that.
Brian Schoenborn 54:48
I couldn’t remember if that if the interviews were done. I think we might have done interviews for both of them. Actually. I think we might have but I just I just remembered dude, that was.
Nick Bedard 55:00
Did I interview costar that night?
Brian Schoenborn 55:04
I don’t know You should have.
Nick Bedard 55:06
I think I might, I think I think we’re all just drinking and I’m like, we should do an interview right now. And I think I’m here with costar who’s running this thing. And that is I used it for Monday’s segment. Yes.
Nick Bedard 55:25
So you see, you see how great this job was. I mean, you want to talk about like opportunity. You can really solidify yourself as anything there. Like there are a lot of foreigners who like starring in movies in China. There are a lot of foreigners who are spokespersons of companies they know nothing about. I was like, I was like, you know, on the fly, just interviewing anybody and turning it into a segment for a radio show.
Brian Schoenborn 55:50
That’s crazy. That’s crazy, dude. You know, so how did all of that lead into your boxing career because that’s that’s what I want to talk about.
Nick Bedard 56:00
So, you know, in high school, I was really into sports. I, I’m a very athletic person naturally, I’m pretty good at any sport that, you know, you throw my way I could kind of figure it out quickly, I’ve got kind of that natural gift. Like, I’m not a star at any of them, but I do I could keep up with you know, any. So, basketball is is very, you know, often played in China, like casually or socially, but it’s pretty rough, man. Like if you do a layup on a Chinese guy who might elbow you in the face or like push you It’s like they’re pretty dirty over there when it comes to like street ball and stuff and they’ll say, hey, street ball, man, like Yeah, but you can’t, can’t shove me into the backboard, man. You know, like, you know, so so as I was like, I was like, Okay, well, maybe like it’s tough to find a game. It’s tough to you know, you’ll be really competitive. I played in a couple leagues with a guy against different foreigners, but I just wasn’t getting my you know, athletic itch. Okay, what else could I do? I’d love to golf. But golf is really expensive to China. And there aren’t really there aren’t much screen golf for driving ranges anywhere because land is so hard to come by. So, man, I don’t know.
Nick Bedard 57:19
And you remember the guy of China Daily sports writer who actually got me the job? Well he was he’s actually like in the Canadian boxing journalist Hall of Fame. And he’s written he’s written books about like Canadian heavyweights and stuff like that. So, so during my breaks, at like China Daily, I’d go down and he’s always smoking a cigar at like, at like the restaurant downstairs on the patio, and he would just tell me stories about boxing. It was pretty cool, man, it’s pretty cool. And then I got into it a little bit of sort of watching it. I was like, You know what, I’m gonna join the boxing gym, what the heck? And the guy’s like you should man you should like, go for it. Go for it. Now. You wanted to be my trainer and stuff like that.
Nick Bedard 58:02
So you know, okay, I’ll go to a gym. I get involved in boxing. So I saw so I hired a Filipino boxing coach who’s a lot like Manny Pacquiao. I didn’t, I didn’t even know how to throw punch. I was like, how do I get what’s a jab? No. But But, you know, like I said, the the athletic itch or the the natural ability in three months, I kind of figured it out. I was like, moving around and stuff and like slipping jabs and slipping punches and throwing combinations. The guy was like, Whoa, like, you want to compete in this little like, white collar competition they’ve got going? I’m like, Fuck, yeah. Man, like, throw me in there. At this point. I’m sparring with you. So I don’t mind you know, let’s do it. Yeah, I’m pumped, right?
Nick Bedard 58:48
So I’m going back to China Daily and say, Hey, you know, I’m gonna join this like white collar guy, my first match and so on. And the guy’s like, yeah, yeah, do it. Do it. Old guy, right? This old old school boy. Boxing guy who used to like, go to Sugar Ray Leonard fights, says like he’s like, yo, let’s do it. So so I get this fight in this like Shuangjing Showdown, what called it it’s a white collar boxing. They throw me up with this guy. I don’t know who he is. I’m scared shitless I’m pumped. You know, I’m like, fuck, dude. I might get my ass kicked but whatever man, I’m, I want to compete. I want to compete. So I go, the guy from China Daily’s there. He’s like, I want to be your cutman. I’m like, Fuck, man. I don’t know if it’s three rounds two minutes now. I don’t know. But yeah, sure. It’s got his old Vaseline. He’s got his like, Q-tips and stuff like that. He’s got an extra towel. He’s gotta bucket I could spit in. And everyone else has got like one trainer and like their girlfriend.
Nick Bedard 59:49
I’ve got this like really like intense cut cut man guy who’s like trying to live in his nostalgia moment. My Filipino trainer’s like, hey Nick. Who is this guy? That’s like like, like stitch Duran type thing, you know? Like I’ll stitch you up, don’t worry. Okay, so so we’re boxing in 16 ounce gloves, which are like pillows. And it’s and it’s outside. And it’s a barbecue with beers. And let’s rock and roll.
Nick Bedard 1:00:17
So so the first round, I’m just running around, I have no idea what I’m doing. But I could see that like, this guy is pretty slow and kind of sucks. So I try to like, like, throw punch at him. And I land, and I run away and I’m like, oh that worked. I keep running because I’m taller and faster than he is no idea what I’m doing, spinning around the circle and ding the bell rings. I’m like, Oh shit. First round’s over. I survived. And so yeah, so I’m in the corner and the guy’s like, like throwing water down my pants. He’s like, Yeah, that’ll get you pumped up and like, okay, whatever. The Filipino guys like, keep moving. Keep boxing, keep punching. I’m like, this is fucking intense. Ding. Second round starts. I’m like, all right, one with this guy like okay, he’s threw punch. I get knocked in the face. I’m like, Oh shit, and I’m all cocky and stuff. So whenever I get hit, everyone’s like, yeah, get him! Like whenever I hit him, they’re like, oh, boo.
Nick Bedard 1:01:15
We’re dancing a little bit. It’s kind of gets intense and we’re tying up and we’re punching. We’re just throwing like wild punches. Ding! Second round over. Third round, I come out and I don’t know why but my train, the the old the old school guy from China Daily put like Vaseline in my hair. Because he’s like, hey, Roberto Duran used to do this. You look good. You look good. You’ll fight good. I’m like all right. So I look like a real douchebag, you know, I’ve got this like hair slicked back and stuff. I could see the guy’s getting tired. So it’s I keep I keep going. And finally, I pin them against the corner. I just rail on his head twice. Boom, boom. His head bounces off the rope. Comes back. Another rght hand cross across the face, we’re not wearing headgear. Lights out. Boom. Yeah, hits the canvas. A doctor runs in. The fight is over and I’m like, yeah!!!! Everyone’s, oh my god is that guy okay? And I’m like, fuck yeah!!!!!!
Nick Bedard 1:02:20
Like I it’s my first fight so I don’t know about like this like sportsmanship and stuff, like make sure the guy’s okay first. Before we start so I’m parading around the ring. It’s like and that that was the start of my boxing career.
Brian Schoenborn 1:02:32
That’s right. I remember I was at that fight actually.
Nick Bedard 1:02:35
Yeah. So the second, the second event comes around, they put me up with a tougher opponent, and I trained my ass off. I stopped drinking, I start eating kale. I’m just like training training every day. I’m like, Yo, I’m the champ. Nobody could beat me. I’m going in like social media in China saying the champ is here and stuff like that. And I come out and just wreck this guy, cuz I overtrained. Like I was like to ready for this the guy’s like, holy. I beat him within within 19 seconds they’re like okay, this is a, you can’t fight this guy, you’re Nick, you’re you’re an animal.
Nick Bedard 1:03:12
And that really fed my ego so so I’ve got this basketball thing that I’m doing. I’m training, you know, and this is I’m training when I’m not working or whatever. And then I’m working at China Daily, right? So when I worked in radio, I had more free time so I could train more. But the guy the guy from China Daily was still kind of contacting me. He’s like when’s your next fight champ and stuff like that. So that’s then the third one comes around. And it’s kind of like an off site event like a Chinese gym and they have an event. I crush the guy there. And at this point, I’m just unstoppable, right? I knocked the guy out. My third flight knocked the guy out. My first fight. Knocked the guy out my second fight, knock the guy out third fight. Who’s gonna stop me? So this way, I just I everywhere I go in like the foreign community I’m calling myself the champ. Why the hell not? And you know some people hated it and some people were like running with it. Like, you were. You thought it was hilarious. I was just going into the bar and I was saying the champ is here.
Brian Schoenborn 1:04:17
Haha, that’s right.
Nick Bedard 1:04:18
I was going up to the Chinese bartender and said the champ wants a Heineken.
Brian Schoenborn 1:04:25
You didn’t let it get to your head at all.
Nick Bedard 1:04:28
Not at all. And you know, I like this marketing side, this journalism side. It was all about like selling the fight or so on, or selling the persona. So the last one I did, right, and this was like the sixth one. I did a couple other ones where I won, but I moved up in weight. So I moved up from welterweight to middleweight, okay? I had to like put on the pounds, and it was a slugfest, but I went in there. So it was the best middleweight that the guy had on his roster for the Shuangjing Showdown, this guy’s been in multiple fights, he trains all the time. He’s from Greece. So it’s like okay, it’s gonna be tough. It’s gonna be tough so it’s a little nervous, but I went in there and just like pounded and pounded and just landing, and he’s trying to hold on to me, but I couldn’t knock him out. I’m going up in weight class I just didn’t have the power to knock him out. So I just kept bringing punches off his bald head. No offense to both people there, Brian.
Brian Schoenborn 1:05:29
Nick Bedard 1:05:30
I just kept bringing shots off his head ringing shots through his body and he wouldn’t he wouldn’t fall anyway I won unanimously but but that’s that’s what it. Yeah, that was my last fight. So I’m a two-time Shuang, two weight division, sorry. Two weight division Shuangjing Showdown champion.
Brian Schoenborn 1:05:48
Maybe pound for pound I mean that’s
Nick Bedard 1:05:50
that’s exactly what I was going dynamite dropping, Brian. Pound for pound Shuangjing showdown champion.
Brian Schoenborn 1:05:56
You know, it’s kind of your rise in the Boxing in the Beijing boxing circuit is meteoric, dude I remember the first time that first fight was ridiculous you didn’t, you had no idea what you were doing.
Nick Bedard 1:06:09
No idea what I was doing.
Brian Schoenborn 1:06:10
You were running around the ring.
Nick Bedard 1:06:12
I wasn’t even shuffling I was literally like running around the ring.
Brian Schoenborn 1:06:17
And like the pop that you got him, that knocked him out, it was like a haymaker.
Nick Bedard 1:06:23
It was huge. It was I threw it from one corner to the other, and the guys had bounced off the rope and like I think he’s already knocked out at the time, but he bounced off the rope and his momentum from the head just went right into the punch and he was out cold.
Brian Schoenborn 1:06:37
Nick Bedard 1:06:38
God bless that he was okay but Jesus Christ.
Brian Schoenborn 1:06:43
That’s funny, man. Um…So where are you on your journey now because because this has been a pretty epic journey dude going from, you know, working your way into the NBA credentials as a guerrilla journalist. Showing success as a Chinese propagandist at China Daily, and and the radio, what was it, CRI? Murdering people in the Beijing boxing circuit. Murderer. What’s going on now? Dude, where are you at? Because you’re not in China anymore. You’re back in Toronto.
Nick Bedard 1:07:22
I’m back in Toronto. I’ve used all my experience and and shifted it towards a digital digital marketing career. So all those Google ads you see on Google, I’m managing some pretty big clients on Google advertising. So that’s been paying a bit. That’s good. I’ve had a really successful career so far in that I’ve been in this game for three four years now. And and I’ve left the journalism on the side. I don’t like the direction that the industry is going in. So I’m using all of kind of that creativity into kind of marketing and that’s been super successful for me. As far as the boxing not so much, I’m kind of playing golf now. So really at a certain point in time you start winding down and settling a little bit. So I’m not as you know, as go get a go getter as I as I once was, I tried starting my own digital marketing company. That didn’t work out. I didn’t I couldn’t launch it. I will in the future, but it hasn’t happened yet. I do have plans to go on my own. But as of right now, the timing just isn’t there yet. So I’m just, you know, grinding away at these, this company that I work for now that pays me extremely well and treats me extremely well for the work I do for them. So I’m quite content with where I’m at now, future plans, I do. I want to start my own company. And I hope that you have me on again when I do that, because that would be some awesome promotion.
Brian Schoenborn 1:09:01
Oh, hell yeah, dude, I’m all about that. And you’re talking about from the beginning man from the top, you know, it is all about the journey, right? You know, there’s a lot of people I mean, even the startup world is, it’s like the Wild West dude. Like there’s so many people that are going to try and try and make it happen, I’m going to fail. Like a gold rush, right? So many people are going to try and pan for gold and not get anything and not, you know, that they’ll start their business and it doesn’t quite work. But like, I think what matters is that you’re doing what you’re passionate about, right? What you love, what you’re good at, and what people are willing to pay you for. Right? And like, as long as you have those things aligned, and you just keep going, or, you know, sometimes you gotta get off the path for a little bit. You know, Plan B for a little while, put Plan A on the side burner. You know, there’s there’s respect that goes with that, you know, what I mean is respect with just the fact that you even get out there and try. Once you get back on that path which I know you will, because I because I I know how you are. You’re, you’re that driven guy, man. You’re the champ quantum champ, Quantum Beast, baby.
Nick Bedard 1:10:13
Look if there’s anything you could learn from this, it’s once you have a goal, once you know where you want to get to, you put the time. But it all comes down to how prepared are you? How hard are you working to get there?
Brian Schoenborn 1:10:29
Nick Bedard 1:10:29
And and how are you with timing? Because if you if you if you if you skip too many steps that’s going to catch up to you.
Brian Schoenborn 1:10:39
Nick Bedard 1:10:39
So I made sure to kind of you know, start small and go through every single step in the process in order to get to where I want to go and and and timing. They call it luck, but I call it timing Timing is everything.
Brian Schoenborn 1:10:54
Brian Schoenborn 1:10:56
I hear that man. Well, uh, speaking timing. It’s about time to wrap it up. Right? You got a nice little dinner with the wifey, a little birthday dinner, man. Dude, it’s been great chatting with you, man. I look forward to the next one. I can’t wait to hear what you got going on man.
Nick Bedard 1:11:13
Likewise, Brian, I love what you’re doing with 8B Media. Keep up the great work, and I hope to be on again soon.
Brian Schoenborn 1:11:18
Thanks, man. Anything you want to plug real quick before we let you go?
Nick Bedard 1:11:22
8BMedia.com. It’s gonna be the new. It’s gonna be the new podcasting platform. As far as plugging anything I’ve got going on Brian, no, I’m all good there. But But keep doing what you’re doing. We, you have a great audience. You have great content, and we love to see the hard work you put in to achieve what you want to do.
Brian Schoenborn 1:11:45
Oh, man, appreciate it. Dude. You know, it’s a it’s nice to get some positive feedback like that. Nick Bedard, everyone. Peace. You’ve been listening to Half the City with Brian Schoenborn, presented by 8B Media. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast, share it with your friends and leave a solid five star review to ensure these stories get spread far and wide. For more information, as well as listen to other shows, including Relentless: a Survivor’s Search for Passion, Purpose, and Inner Peace and Beyond Relentless, be sure to check out 8Bmedia.com. Thank you for listening.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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