As the start of the NBA season gets closer, each of China’s three NBA players–veteran Yao Ming, second-year player Yi Jianlian and rookie Sun Yue–is facing completely different challenges.
Yao Ming, along with Tracy McGrady, is one of two leaders of a Houston Rockets team that’s in the hunt for a long-awaited NBA title. He’s also still working on completely healing from a foot fracture that ended his season 26 games early last year. A healthy and productive season for Yao is obviously a key ingredient to team success, and to his status as one of the league’s premier big men.
Yi Jianlian is adjusting to his new team, the New Jersey Nets, and jetting to Paris and London for exhibition games against the Miami Heat. After getting his wish of moving to a larger market with a bigger Chinese-American population, the power forward is now vying for playing time with other talented front court players including Josh Boone, Stromile Swift, Eduardo Najera and Brook Lopez.
In Los Angeles, Lakers rookie Sun Yue is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. The illness should keep him off the court and out of the weight room for several weeks, not a good look for a player who needs some quick NBA grooming to establish himself as someone who is ready for the league.
Ironically, no Chinese nationals will be suiting up for the two pre-season games in Beijing later this month. The Golden State Warriors take on Yi’s former team, the Milwaukee Bucks, in a pair of games October 15 and 18, in Guangzhou and Beijing.
Tags: Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, New Jersey Nets, Sun Yue, Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian