Jianlian playing for the Nets.
|Guangdong Southern Tigers|
|Born||October 27, 1987 |
|Listed height||7 ft 0 in|
|Listed weight||250 lbs|
|NBA Draft||2007; Round: 1 / Pick: 6th|
|Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks|
|2002-2007||Guangdong Southern Tigers|
|2008-2010||New Jersey Nets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Profile at NBA.com|
Yi was not expected to enter the NBA Draft until 2009 because the Chinese Basketball Association does not allow players to leave until they turn 22. In early 2006, he announced he would enter the 2006 NBA Draft, although he eventually decided to withdraw, saying he was "not good enough to compete in the NBA and need more experience." On November 1, 2006, however, Yi's club, the Guangdong Tigers, announced that Yi would enter the 2007 NBA Draft. He is generally expected to be a lottery pick, as several draft sites list him in the top 10 of their mock drafts. Yi chose NBA agent Dan Fegan to represent him. He also flew to Los Angeles to participate in pre-NBA Draft camps.
He was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association as the 6th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. He was not pleased to be drafted by the Bucks, preferring instead to play in a city with a larger Asian population. He did eventually sign with the Bucks, however.
He is right-handed and was measured in May 2007 as being 2.13 m, or 7’0” tall, and weighing 112 kg (246 lbs.).
Yi started playing basketball when he was 12,and was 1.93 meters (6’3”) by the time he was 13, and could already touch 3.51 meters (11’6”) by the time he joined the Guangdong Tigers in 2002. He won the CBA Rookie of the Year award in the 2002-03 CBA season, and won three championships with Guangdong.
In 2002, Yi got the attention of the basketball world when he attended the adidas ABCD Camp in New Jersey.
He first gained worldwide recognition when he was featured in Time Magazine's August 24, 2003 article, "The Next Yao Ming." He won the CBA Rookie of the Year award in 2002-03, and won three championships with Guangdong. In what was probably Yi's last year in the CBA, the Tigers lost to the Bayi Rockets in the 2007 finals, failing to win their fourth straight title.
Internationally, he averaged 18.9 points 11.5 rebounds a game at FIBA Under-19 World Championships.
Questions surround his birthdate, as his official passport and residency permit in China have him listed as being born on October 27, 1987. However, it has been rumored that his date of birth may have been intentionally falsified so he could play in junior competitions. The estimates of his birth year are between 1984 and 1987. In 2004, he was listed as being born in 1984 in China's Four Nation Tournament, although authorities said it was only a “typo”. The NBA draft site DraftExpress.com also listed him as being born in 1984.
The Houston Chronicle's Fran Blinebury reported that Yi told Shane Battier he was 24 in an exhibition game before the 2006 FIBA World Championships. However, a Chinese newspaper reported that Battier disavowed the comment attributed to him. Yi has gone on record saying that he did not talk to Battier about his age and that he was born in 1987 and that anyone saying anything else would be slandering him.
Yi is fluent in both Mandarin and his home language of Cantonese. He also takes daily English classes, and now does interviews and conversations in English without an interpreter.
He is currently under contract with Nike to advertise their products within China.