With Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas dominating all of the Chinese basketball headlines currently, one story has got lost in the foreign player mix: The official China arrival of the best women’s player in the world, Maya Moore.
Moore, who was signed by the Shanxi Xingrui Flame of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association during the summer, landed in Taiyuan, Shanxi province on October 31st and is reportedly all set to go for the team’s next game this week. (In case you’re wondering: Yes, that’s the same place Stephon Marbury started his CBA career in 2010).
Playing without an import while waiting on Moore, the Flame have opened the season 0-2. But with Moore in pocket, that record is likely to have more than a few wins on it in pretty short order. Because we repeat: Moore is the best women’s player on this planet at the moment… and she is going to shred this league into approximately one billion little pieces.
If you’re not familiar with Moore, let’s give you a (relatively) brief intro: A four-year UCONN standout, Moore completed what is arguably the most dominant run in modern day women’s hoops history, leading the Lady Huskies to a record 90 straight wins and two NCAA national championships from 2008-2011. Inside that period, she set the record for most points in UCONN history, notched four straight AP First Team All-American Team selections (only the second player to do that in NCAA history, men or women), won three National Player of the Year awards and set the all-time NCAA total wins mark with 150. If there’s something we missed, our apologies in advance, as the list could go on for just about forever times infinity.
The numbers don’t do it justice, though. So transcendent is Moore that she became the first woman to ever sign an endorsement deal with Jordan Brand (you can see the Jumpman shoes in the picture above). Now in the WNBA, Moore just completed her second season for the Minnesota Lynx. As a rookie in 2011, she helped lead the Lynx to (what else) a championship. She followed that up with another championship in Europe, winning the EuroLeague with Ros Casares Valencia. And then for good measure, she won a gold medal this summer at the 2012 London Olympics with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the WCBA, but I do know this: You’d be dumb to pick against the Flame this season. And you’d also be dumb not to tune in to watch the undisputed best Chinese import player of all-time — man or woman — add to her already amazing legacy.