Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Studies

Reader 1

Geoffrey Herrera

Reader 2

Nigel Boyle

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@2015 Joseph B Eyen


This thesis demonstrates the importance of basketball as a form of soft power and a diplomatic asset to better achieve American foreign policy, which is defined and referred to as basketball diplomacy. Basketball diplomacy is also a lens to observe the evolution of American power from 1893 through present day. Basketball connects and permeates foreign cultures and effectively disseminates American influence unlike any other form of soft power, which is most powerfully illustrated by the United States’ basketball relationship with China. American basketball diplomacy will become stronger and connect with more countries with greater influence, and exist without relevant competition, until the likely rise of China in the indefinite future. As a result of basketball diplomacy, Chinese culture has internalized American influence, likewise for many other countries, which will positively benefit the United States as China possibly challenges American hegemony.