It is always encouraging when we read about an athlete with the right attitude of never giving up no matter what. One of the more recent movies, Eddie the Eagle, showcased just how far one’s determination and perseverance is able to go despite all the obstacles from within and without. Yi Jianlian, a professional basketball player who hails from China, claims that he is ready to put his past behind and prepare himself for a second stint in the NBA.
Yi first joined the Guangdong Southern Tigers for the 2002–03 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season, where that was when he picked up the CBA Rookie of the Year award. His natural talent shone through in his first five years with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, helping the team to a trio of CBA titles during his tenure there.
Surely talent like that does not go unnoticed, and in the 2007 NBA draft, he was picked by the Milwaukee Bucks with the sixth overall pick. At first, Yi decided not to put pen to paper for Milwaukee, and this situation remained for several months. We would say that after much through, Yi agreed to put his John Hancock with the Milwaukee Bucks on 29 August 2007, where his first stint brought him to other teams like the New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards, and Dallas Mavericks.
Apart from that, Yi is also a regular on the Chinese national team, and have proudly worn his country’s colors for four editions of the Olympics in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Not only that, he has also represented China in the 2006 and 2010 FIBA World Championships.
However, the amount of success that he has achieved on the court in the NBA has not been that impressive, to say the least. Thankfully, he has a never-give-up attitude, and Yi is confident that his second stint in the NBA will be a very different era from the first.
Yi shared, “I feel pressure. But I feel excited about that. I think I can still shoot the 3’s, space the floor. I’m cool with playing the four or five.” In Yi’s second stint in the NBA, he is playing for the LA Lakers, where legends of the game have also carried the proud name to championships and dazzling displays of individual flair.
The 6-foot-11, 243-pound Yi averaged 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game over the course of his five-year career in the NBA. When he played in China, the level of competition around him should be lower, hence he managed to average 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds with Guangdong, where he shot 46.7 percent from 3-point range.
Yi’s presence with the LA Lakers would definitely be able to assist them in terms of the frontcourt, and his huge size at center also an asset. His outside shooting too, will be something that opponents have to look out for. Dripping with optimism concerning his second stint in the NBA and his first with the LA Lakers, Yi said, “I think I can really fit on the team and his system. I think I can play over here.” Godspeed, Yi.