He’s fast, he’s agile and a hard-worker, but while this hardcourt hero in China may not actually be star athlete, he is being widely lauded just the same for the passion he exhibits on Chinese basketball courts
Netizens have been cheering for 28-year-old Meng Fei, a dedicated floor-mopper who became famous for bringing so much energy and passion in his job.
Meng, who did not graduate from high school, began as a volunteer cleaner at a basketball court in Shenzhen back in 2013 at age 24, according to South China Morning Post. As he exhibited his work ethic with every assigned task, he would eventually be known for his spirited style of floor-wiping which many have found admirable.
“I’d wipe the floor as hard as I could, and run off again once the floor was clean,” Meng said. “It’s mostly a muscle job.”
His energetic movement whenever the floor needed to be touched up after a sweaty basketball player falls has caught the attention of sports fans.
Even those who do not follow basketball and found about him on social media admire him for taking his job seriously.
“I tidy up my clothes each time before I enter the arena,” he was quoted as saying. “I’ll gel my hair and wipe my shoes, too.”
What made him viral was a footage of him during a game in December 2016, where he was seen running onto the court, holding two towels and eagerly wiping down the floor during a match which was broadcast on government TV channel CCTV.
The clip which became widely shared on local social media, turned him into an overnight star. Netizens mostly praised him for his passion, diligence, and sense of urgency in fulfilling a task many may find to be menial.
A professional team in the nation’s premier basketball league Chinese Basketball Association also took notice of his impressive qualities. Soon, he became a regular part of the pre-game warm-up performance of Shenzhen Marco Polo team. Other CBA teams soon invited him to wipe down their own side of the court floors before a match as well.
The highlight of Meng’s career would arrive in January last year after he was invited to wipe the floor at the CBA All-Stars game. Like a true professional, Meng did not take the task lightly and trained for two weeks. He reportedly ran 10 km (6.2 miles) each morning in preparation for the event.
As his popularity grew even more in the months that followed, more and more noticed what made him tick, and opportunities began opening up for the hardworking floor-mopper. Just six months ago, he received a job offer from a Beijing-based technology company. Meng accepted the offer to work as a manager’s assistant at an annual salary of 200,000 yuan ($31,500).
“Now that many people recognize me, I have discovered that the opportunities I have in life have increased,” Meng noted. “I’ve always believed that there’s a bigger stage out there for me.”
He prepared for the interview by watching numerous instructional videos of people doing job interviews. After applying what he learned, he impressed his employers and got the job.
As for his floor-mopping career, Meng has stated that he refuses to turn his back on it as he is still yet to fulfill his ultimate dream of someday wiping the floors at an NBA game. Former NBA player Wang Zhizhi also heard about Meng’s dreams. The Chinese basketball star, who previously suited up for the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat, has reportedly offered to help him realize his NBA wish.