UNC student from China translates 'The Last Dance' for Chinese NBA fans while waiting to return home amid COVID-19

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Aiqi Sun just put the last final of his freshman year to bed on Monday, so now he's got nothing but time on his hands. That's kind of the problem.

"You know when you're alone in the room at night is kind of, you know, you wish this never happened." Sun said of his pandemic predicament.


Sun calls Horton Hall home. He's one of just four people still there at last check.

A native of Qingdao, China he came to UNC for its world renowned combination of hoops and friendly campus life.

"I like North Carolina, it has this beautiful nature landscape, like cool people, nice people around here" he told ABC11. "A lot of sports fans in China also know how good UNC-Chapel Hill is in terms of basketball. Like Michael Jordan everybody knows."

The team wasn't exactly as advertised this year.

When I asked Aiqi how he enjoyed the games, he grimaced.

It turns out of that roughly 5 he attended, 3 were last second losses to Duke, Virginia and Boston College. He did however have rave reviews for the Smith Center, calling it far better than the stadium back home.

Now stuck on campus nearly alone, Sun has actually found himself missing old annoyances.

"Here or like on Franklin Street it's just quiet. There is supposed to be noise. I didn't like how noisy some people were honestly, but now I miss the noise."

Flights from the U.S. back to China are tightly restricted during the pandemic. Sun has had several scheduled trips canceled.

"It's pure luck, honestly... you are buying several tickets to be the lucky guy."

His next lottery ticket is at the end of the month. He's eager to reunite with his family and dog Lanlan. Until then he's been busying himself with translation work.

He translated ESPN's "NBA Rooks" series and that turned into work on "The Last Dance" episodes one and eight.

The pay isn't great, but it's something to help out with tuition and for an avid basketball fan what cooler thing is there than this gig?

Perhaps the trickiest part is navigating his way around the profanity, which is quite frowned on back home.

Sun laughs, "(I look) to a more softer way, to a more implicit way of translation. That is what you have to master if you want to be a translator."

He made it clear to us that LeBron is actually his favorite player but Aiqi also very good at reading the room in Chapel Hill.

He told us "Listen, I know MJ is the GOAT."
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