Li-Ning vs Nike couldn't have happened without ping-pong diplomacy


Little known fact: thirty-nine years ago this week, U.S.-China relations made a historic shift that altered the course of the world. And all because a hippie missed the bus.

On April 6, 1971, Glenn Cowan, a floppy-haired, purple bell-bottom wearing, drug-ingesting member of the U.S. Table Tennis Team competing in Japan missed the team bus when he stuck around the training facility to practice a little longer.

He was befriended by Chinese player Zhuang Zedong, who gave him a silkscreen of the Huangshan Mountains. Cowan returned the favor with a red-white-and blue T-shirt emblazoned with a peace emblem and the words "Let it Be."