- Basketball is a part of my life! At any stage, anywhere, to my importance and my belief in it never changes. All the fans around family and friends, thanks! We look forward to a new day, a new season!
If there is a way to embed a tweet from Sina Weibo, I have not figured it out. So this is a copy and paste version. Here is the link to Yi’s Weibo page.
I answered some questions regarding Yi’s decision from our Beijing-based columnist, Guan Weijia, that will appear on Titan Sports in China. Here they are:
1. Why Yi cannot get a offer from NBA teams?
In the end, if this is the end, it is because despite all of the potential and talent Yi possesses, he never played with enough of a confidence level to be a difference-maker in the NBA. Make no mistake, NBA teams love his skill set. He can do it all, but it is one thing to do it in practice or as a featured player on the Chinese NT, and quite another thing to do it night-in, night-out for an NBA team — especially if he is limited to 10-12 minutes. In English we have an expression “fire in the belly” that speaks to a player’s hunger level. I am certain Yi was hungry, but when he got a chance to eat, he did not eat well. (I hope that analogy translates to Mandarin).
2. If Yi had played his last game in the NBA, what shall we say about his NBA career?
Well, first of all, I do not believe he has played his last game in the NBA. Because the Chinese season ends so early, if he has a good year for Guongdong I would imagine there will be an NBA playoff team willing to sign him for the remainder of the 2013 season. But if that is not the case, we would have to say that Yi’s NBA career was a failure. What made it even tougher was that he had to follow in the footsteps of Yao Ming, which is pretty much impossible. But again, Yi is young, and Yi is good. So I expect we will see him over here again in March.
3. In your opinion, in how many years, there will be a Chinese playing in the NBA?
The third question is tough, because I do not know the relative skill sets of the younger Chinese players. So I will answer it this way: Because no one aside from Yao has been a success, the next Chinese NBA player will have to be healthier than Yao, more confident than Yi, more athletic and mobile than Wang Zhi-Zhi and Mengke Bateer, and have more of an ability to be a game-changer than the kid who spent a year with the Lakers, Sun Yue. I am sure this player exists. I am not sure whether he is 14, 16, 18 years old, or what age he is. But there will be many, many Chinese in the NBA in the next 20 years. Of this I am quite confident.