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Tag Archives: Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady doesn’t know who Wang Zhelin is, doesn’t think there’s anybody in CBA good enough to play in NBA

June 17, 2013



Despite being the consensus top young player in the CBA, Tracy McGrady has no idea who Wang Zhelin is.

There’s a lot of great story lines from this year’s NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, but there’s one that’s most relevant to NiuBBall and to Chinese basketball in general:

Tracy McGrady is one win away from an NBA championship.

OK well there’s actually three: Besides T-Mac, Miami’s Chris Anderson (Jiangsu Dragons, 2001) and San Antonio’s Patty Mills (Xinjiang Flying Tigers, 2012) both have played in China as well.

But it’s Mai Di who has the cult following in China and whose mere hand wave causes grown men to cry. And it’s McGrady who to go through what was arguably the most unique — and that’s putting it politically correct — experience in China foreign player history. Yet T-Mac, staying classy as always, had nothing but good things to say when asked by American media during these Finals.

My experience in China was great,” McGrady said in an interview with Alex Kennedy at HoopsWorld. “I had a lot of fun over there. Chinese fans are unbelievable and they made me feel like a rock star. Every arena I showed up to was [sold out], and thousands of people were waiting just for my bus to pull up. The airport was just flooded with people.”

Who he actually he played against while in those arenas? Not so memorable, according to a transcript published by Chinese media outlet, NetEase. Prior to Game 2 of the Finals, a journalist interviewed McGrady, leading off with the question that every Chinese NBA fan wants to know: Is there anybody in China who has a shot to play in The League one day? […]

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T-Mac and Tang

April 23, 2013



Ill-fated ‘80s music duo? Fast-food lunch combo? Bachelor grocery list?

The answer is D) None of the above. Here are some notes about two bits of news that might be meaningful to you if you have both a mildly unhealthy appetite for basketball and a streak of Chi-curiosity. They are about two ballplayers whose careers will likely never come in direct contact, yet which are bizarre mirror images of each other.

T-Mac, of course, is Tracy McGrady, the former NBA scoring wizard who spent last season in what was, to some, a startingly unimpressive late-career stroll through a season with the Qingdao Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association. Tang is T-Mac’s basketball opposite, a teenaged hoops prodigy from Jiangsu province who went to the United States for high school so that he could be a student and an athlete. Tang Zihao is called Chris Tang in the States, Chris for the point guard’s sporting hero, Chris Paul, and Tang as in the powdered sugary-orange drink, not as it’s pronounced back home in southeastern China.


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Monday Night Chuanr

April 23, 2013




Nighttime links served up proper with a hearty helping of lamb on a stick.  The beer is on you, though.


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In Need Of Help For Playoff Push, San Antonio Spurs Sign Tracy McGrady

April 18, 2013


8SLPM3A50ACR0005The San Antonio Spurs are hurting as they prepare for the NBA Playoffs which start on April 20, so they’ve decided to sign a player whose hurt them in the past: Tracy McGrady.

As announced yesterday, the 15-year NBA veteran, who played this season in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Qingdao Eagles, has signed a deal for the rest of the season, including the soon-approaching post-season.

Though the move is surprising given its timing, it does have some logic. It is no surprise that coach Gregg Popovich often rest his top players from time to time and Monday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors was a given as he looks to give them much needed rest before starting what they hope to be a deep playoff run.


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Farewell, Qingdao Eagles

February 25, 2013

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The regular season is over and for the eight teams who finished with a good enough record to participate, the month of March will one of hope and optimism… unless you’re playing Guangdong or Beijing in the first round. Then, maybe it’ll just be a month of collecting first-round playoff bonuses.  But for those nine teams who are already relaxing at home, you’re not forgotten. Leon Zhang says goodbye to the worst team in the league, the Qingdao Eagles, in his first installment of CBA Farewell Letters.

Oh, Qingdao, how you tantalized all of us with one move, one player, one Tracy McGrady; and what a shock all of us experienced in the aftermath of such a seismic shift. We all knew it would be hard for you to have a decent record with such a bare roster, especially with Li Gen off to Beijing. But really, it’s been a dramatic disaster both on and off the court, and wherever you guys thought you were going when you protested a questionable call in Round 20 against Bayi. And that’s kind of the way it’s been this year, a team trying to find its identity amid turmoil and bursts of anger.


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McGrady announces he will skip All-Star Game to be with ailing grandmother

February 18, 2013

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Well, that’s over: Tracy McGrady has officially played his final game in China as of last night after announcing on his Sina Weibo account that he will not be participating in the CBA All-Star Game this weekend. As written on a full page note to both his fans and teammates  he will instead fly back to the United States to be with his ailing grandmother.

McGrady received the most fan votes in the league, becoming the first foreign player in history to achieve that distinction.

With little comment from McGrady about his status for the All-Star game, which will be this Sunday, there had been off-and-on speculation in Chinese media over his participation. Just a few days ago, Qingdao local media quoted an anonymous team insider and reported that he would in fact play.

But in the letter, which expressed gratitude to both fans and teammates, McGrady cited the need to be with his sick grandmother back home and hoped that people would “understand my predicament.”

In his final game, McGrady tallied 30 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the loss. His team, the Qingdao Eagles, finished in last place at 8-24.

The full letter can be seen below.


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McGrady decides to play in All-Star Game

February 16, 2013



With his status for next season up in the air, Tracy McGrady’s legion of fans in China will get to watch their favorite player one more time in the CBA All-Star Game after the regular season ends this Sunday.

McGrady, who became the first foreign player in league history to receive the most fan votes of any player, has reportedly indicated to team officials that he will participate in the league’s All-Star Weekend, which will be held from February 23-24 in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. McGrady, according to reports, had expressed doubt as to whether he was going to play.

Though fans would have been extremely disappointed if McGrady did not play, it would not have come as a entirely huge surprise as there is a precedent for foreign players declining All-Star invitations: Last year, both Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith elected not to participate in festivities, instead opting to return to the United States early to undergo contract negotiations with NBA teams.

The All-Star Game is played in between the end of the regular season and the beginning of the post-season.

McGrady will start for the North All-Stars along with Stephon Marbury, Guo Ailun, Li Xiaoxu and Han Dejun.

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2012-13 CBA All-Star Game starters revealed; McGrady remains undecided on participation

February 8, 2013



The starters for the 2013 Chinese Basketball Association All-Star Game were announced last week on Friday, with the Qingdao Eagles’ Tracy McGrady collecting the most fan votes.

Guangdong’s Yi Jianlian finished second.

McGrady, however, is reportedly considering as to whether he will participate in the event. Like last year, All-Star Weekend will be held in Guangzhou from February 23-24 at the Guangzhou International Sports Performance Arts Center.

Bayi’s Wang Zhizhi once again finished high enough to earn a starting spot for the South All-Stars, bringing his total All-Star Game tally to 13 appearances. Xinjiang’s Mengke Bateer holds the all-time record with 15 appearances, although this is the first time in his career that he will not be a starter.

Liaoning’s 19 year-old point guard, Guo Ailun, also makes headlines for getting the first start of his career. Yao Ming, then playing for Shanghai, became a starter in 1998 as an 18 year-old.

Quincy Douby, who set the All-Star Game single game scoring record with 44 points in 2011 while playing for Xinjiang, makes his return to the contest as part of the South squad after missing all of last season with a wrist injury.

Each team will have seven reserve players, which will be announced before the end of the regular season.

The complete list of starters are below.

North All-Stars:

Guards: Stephon Marbury (Beijing), Guo Ailun (Liaoning)

Forwards: Tracy McGrady (Qingdao), Li Xiaoxu (Liaoning)

Center: Han Dejun (Liaoning)

South All-Stars:

Guards: Quincy Douby (Zhejiang), Liu Wei (Shanghai)

Forwards: Yi Li (Jiangsu), Yi Jianlian (Guangdong)

Center: Wang Zhizhi (Bayi)

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Qingdao home season attendance figures fail to live up to expectations

February 8, 2013



Tracy McGrady played the last home game of the season for the Qingdao Eagles on Wednesday. As has been par for the course, they lost, this time to Zhejiang. Whether it was the last home game of McGrady’s career is still up in the air.

Obviously, from a record standpoint, nobody in Qingdao thought it was going to go down like this at the beginning of the season.

But besides the wins (way too few) and the losses (way too many), there’s something else in Qingdao that hasn’t gone as well as initially anticipated: Ticket sales.

Expecting a huge swell in local demand from fans eager to see their longtime hero, the club acted quickly to move their home stadium, which was originally located on the campus of Qingdao University, to the much larger 12,000 seat capacity GuoXin Stadium. The logic isn’t difficult to follow — T-Mac is a walking god in China and conventional wisdom would suggest that many people would be willing to pay to see him in person.

Like we said, it’s not advanced trigonometry. But for those who either went to the stadium or watched on television this season, you probably noticed something kind of… empty. As in all of the empty seats. The many, many empty seats…


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Beijing’s Min Lulei instructs players to attack the basket because, “We’ve got a good whistle”

January 22, 2013



In the Chinese Basketball Association, referees are an ongoing issue. And that’s putting it nicely. Accusations and rumors of point shaving, bribes and various related corruption have all been thrown around, by fans, media and most recently, Tracy McGrady, who was ultimately fined and suspended for publicly criticizing referees.

The most recent case: Sunday’s abomination of a basketball game between Qingdao (again) and Tianjin, which ended in double overtime after 119 total fouls foul shots and six players fouled out. If you’re a CBA vet, you should know how it turned out: Qingdao, playing at home, won on a terrible end-of-game foul off the ball that sent Chris Daniels to the stripe for the two game-clinching free throws. If anyone is interested in either reliving the nightmare or experiencing it for the first time, Anthony Tao over at Beijing Cream has provided the world with video and words that vividly detail the game and the officiating.

The entire game was pathetic no doubt, but as the lessons learned long ago in CBA Officiating 101 continue to remind me: This is how it goes down here. Teams typically get a good whistle when at home, and a bad one when on the road. The degree can vary from a few calls here and there, to some key calls in crunch time all the way to the Wow, I didn’t know it was even possible to get screwed like that-type of officiating. (Of course, that rule is thrown out the window when you play Bayi, in which case you’re getting an extra bad whistle with a bad scorer’s table and an incompetent towel boy on top.)

And though that fact is known, recognized and acknowledged throughout the league in private, publicly nobody offers up even a peep for fear of punishment from the league… Unless a television camera sneaks into your huddle during a timeout and records everything your head coach is saying, which is what happened last Sunday night during Beijing’s nationally televised game against Xinjiang.


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Want to interview Tracy McGrady? That’ll cost you five stacks…

January 15, 2013



After getting off to a rocky start in Qingdao (and a rocky middle for that matter), things are looking up for Tracy McGrady and his squad as the CBA hits its home stretch. After being suspended for a game by the league for his Sina Weibo referee rant (of which has since been deleted from his account), Mai Di and the Eagles won at Jilin last night to win their fourth straight game.

T-Mac finished the game with 38 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in what was arguably his best overall performance and the best performance of Sunday’s round of games. On top of that, he was serenaded by what was quite possibly the loudest chants of “MVP” from an opposing crowd thus far. (For those who haven’t been following, there’s been a lot of MVP cheers from away crowds this year.)

No doubt, after a huge game, a post-game interview would be in order. Or, considering that the iconic McGrady’s every move has been and will continue to be the lead story this season, perhaps a feature interview. Or a one-on-one TV spot.

And all of that can be in order… if you cough up some dough first.


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Refereeing errors add to Qingdao’s woes and more frustration for McGrady

January 12, 2013

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The 2012-2013 Chinese Basketball Association season has not been a kind one to the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. After much hype and exceedingly high expectations after the signing of superstar Tracy McGrady, the last place Eagles are probably looking for this season to end as quickly as possible. With only two wins this season, the only thing the team is playing for now is pride.

Coming into last Wednesday night’s road encounter with seven-time champions, the Bayi Rockets, the Eagles were looking to snap a three-game losing streak to bring the team a much-needed confidence boost.

As in some of the Eagles games this season, they were behind but remained within a shot of pulling out a win. And late in the fourth quarter, down by three points, they had every chance of grinding out their third win of what has been a very long season for them.

However, it was not the players or their performances that the media focused on after the game. Instead, it was the officiating that was put in the spotlight.

The question of CBA referees making poor calls during close games is not a new subject as in previous seasons many have questioned their judgment. Most have even gone as far as to say that the calls are corrupt. However, there has never been any hard evidence to show that there are so-called “black whistles” within the league.


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It takes more than one McGrady to save these Eagles; it takes more than one season to make a McGrady

December 6, 2012


Tracy McGrady, who asked to be subbed out with pulled thigh late in the game on Tuesday against Jilin, is off to an 0-5 start in his China career. (Photo: cfp.cn)

With under a minute to go and a win out of reach, a defeated and frustrated Tracy McGrady pulled up with a muscle pull in his thigh, asked to be subbed out, and watched from the bench as his Qingdao Eagles lost 95-84 to the previously winless Jilin Northeast Tigers. As McGrady walked back to the locker room with his teammates, they did so as the only 0-5  team in the Chinese Basketball Association.

With McGrady in an Eagles uniform this season, it was expected to go down in a big way this year in coastal Shandong province.

But, it definitely wasn’t supposed to go down like this.

In a series of events that have pushed the Eagles and McGrady to new depths with every passing game, these past two weeks — which were supposed to be the beginning stages of of McGrady’s CBA takeover — have instead turned into the opening act of a Shakespearian tragedy.


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McGrady thinks CBA Rules Test is “nonsense”

December 3, 2012

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Photo: Hupu.com

Ah, the CBA Rules Test. Designed to test players and coaches’ knowledge and understanding of the league’s rules, the Chinese Basketball Association implements a written examination during the pre-season. Consisting of true/false and yes/no answers, players and coaches must pass the test in order to be officially registered on their team’s roster for the regular season.

Even to the longtime CBA vet, the test can come across as a bit of a waste of time. But if you’re new to the league? Or if you’re new to the league and you’ve spent the majority of your professional career playing at an elite level in the NBA, like Tracy McGrady?

Then you come out in the media and you call it out for being a huge waste of time, which is what he did last Tuesday.


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Qingdao fires head coach Kang Jung-soo, but questions still abound

November 29, 2012


After starting off the season 0-2, the Qingdao Eagles have fired Kang Jung-soo.

Tracy McGrady was supposed to bring a boost in worldwide attention, national television ratings and local attendance to the Qingdao Eagles when he signed in September. But two games into the season, the Eagles have yet to seen an increase in the most important asset of them all: wins.

And because of that, head coach Kang Jung-soo is out of a job.

After going 0-2 to start the year, Eagles management announced today that Kang has been fired. Kang, the league’s only South Korean coach, had been with the Eagles organization for the last four years, spending the 2008-09 and part of the 2010-11 season as an assistant before being promoted to head coach in December 2010. Under Kang’s direction last year, the Eagles went 16-16, the best season in club history. He had also served as an assistant on the Korean National Team.

Kang will be replaced by Zhang Shizhang, who up to this point had been head coach of the Eagles’ junior team.


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