Yi Jianlian is leaving the court.
Chinese basketball star Yi Jianlian 스포츠토토 recently announced his retirement and took to social media to share his thoughts on ending his playing career.
Yi Jianlian is one of the most popular stars in Chinese basketball and has been dubbed the next Yao Ming. He joined the Guangdong Southern Tigers in 2002 at the age of 15 and went on to become a seven-time Chinese CBA League champion, winning five MVPs and three championship game MVPs.
He was considered the next Yao Ming, but his style was different from the center Yao Ming. Yi Jianlian was a 6-foot-9 forward with great athleticism and shooting ability. This helped him break into the NBA.
He was drafted by Milwaukee with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, but he didn’t make as big of an impact as expected. Still, he split time between starter and backup, averaging 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 272 games, making him the second Chinese player to play in the NBA after Yao Ming (after the recently naturalized Kyle Anderson).
In 2016, Yizhenlian tried to make a comeback to the NBA by rejoining the Lakers, but was released after just one preseason game. He has since continued to play in Guangdong.
In a lengthy post on social media, Yi Jianlian wrote: “Time flies. In the blink of an eye, basketball has accompanied me for 21 years. After careful consideration, I have decided to end my professional basketball career as of today.”
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my family, my coach and coaching staff, my opponents, league sponsors and broadcasters. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to the Guangdong team for their support over the years.”
Yi Jianlian is a four-time Olympian with the Chinese National Basketball Team. His last dream of making it to Tokyo was dashed when China was eliminated in the qualification process. With Yi Jianlian, China won three Asia Cup titles.
“I would especially like to thank the Chinese national basketball team, which is a sacred name to me, and the pride that my country brings to me every time I put on the national jersey and play for my country,” Yizhenlian said.
In conclusion, Yi Jianlian said, “Farewell is not an end, but a new beginning. I will miss you very much, and I will keep moving forward to start a new chapter.” China, which has been struggling with a generational transition, also had a disappointing showing at the recent World Cup, including a 21-point loss to the Philippines.