Tag Archives: Yi Jianlian

Two words sum up the newest trailer for Chinese basketball movie, “Amazing:” Holy. Shnikes.

June 27, 2013

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Make sure you’re sitting down comfortably and that there are no breakables around your computer. OK? Now click and watch.

WOW!!!!

Where to begin? After bringing my pulse rate down, the premise appears simple enough: Take some of of the things Chinese males like (video games, basketball, NBA stars, CBA stars, virtual reality, alternate universes, women, other cool stuff), put them all onto the big screen and you have “Amazing,” a sci-fi/action/fantasy/basketball movie due out in China in late 2013.

According to the LA Times, the 3-D movie is being backed by the NBA, features several Chinese and American current and former basketball superstars, and cost around U.S. $10 million to make. The plot goes something like this:

“Amazing” centers on a video game company boss, Frank (Eric Mabius of TV’s ”Ugly Betty”), who is eager to rush his firm’s new thought-controlled basketball game to market, despite the objections of the project leader Bingshan (popular Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming), who warns that a bug in the system could escape the computer and infect players’ brains.

Along the way, Anthony shows up to coach an after-school program in China and speaks Shanghainese. Pippen materializes at the bedside of his No. 1 Chinese fan, and wakes him from a coma by massaging his legs. Howard appears in a light blue spandex superhero get-up with a cape and tries to use chopsticks.

So other cool stuff includes male leg massages and what is bound to be some terrible Shanhainese. Though ‘Melo gets major props for trying. Hey, I’m with it either way. Other cool stuff also apparently includes weird sexual connotations from D-12:

“Think about the basketball as being a girl,” Howard tells Bingshan in one memorable line of dialogue during a one-on-one pickup game. “You’ve got to hold her, caress her, kiss her, and when you do that, she’ll make you happy.”

There’s also a “love triangle” involved, too. No word whether an actual basketball is one of the three sides involved in that triangle.

The LA Times is also reporting that the movie’s release will coincide with China’s National Day holidays in early October, which conveniently enough will also be around the same time the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors come to Beijing and Shanghai for the 2013 China Games.

We have no idea what to expect with this; we just know we will be seeing this. This trailer is so epic, it’d be a travesty not to. Even if we remained totally bummed out they didn’t call Mengke Bateer, who has a better acting resume than any of the pro players involved in this… combined.

(H/T @Trey Kirby and The Basketball Jones)

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Panagiotis Giannakis hired as head coach of Chinese National Team; initial 24-man roster released

April 28, 2013

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In a country where the dragon holds significant cultural importance, perhaps its fitting that one will be the next head coach of the national team.

Ending a long search, the CBA announced the appointment of Panagiotis Giannakis as head coach of the Chinese men’s national team. Nicknamed “The Dragon” for his long reign of dominance over European and international basketball, the 56 year-old will become the fourth foreign head coach in Chinese basketball history.

According to reports, the contract is a four-year agreement that will take Giannakis all the way through the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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2012-13 NiuBBall Awards

April 12, 2013

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Way to ruin the suspense, guys.

Why would we write a 2012-13 CBA Awards piece when we already wrote another one elsewhere on the internet?

Because one, there isn’t a word count around these parts. And secondly, it ain’t really a CBA Awards piece unless it’s a NiuBBall Awards piece.

Which are exactly the reasons why we’re busting out another set for the third straight year, written exclusively for you and the rest of our loyal band of supporters.

So enjoy and of course, if you have anything to say, get to posting in the comments section.

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Is There a Second Chance at NBA Stardom for Yi Jianlian?

April 9, 2013

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A week has passed since the Guangdong Southern Tigers captured their eighth Chinese Basketball Association title with a 4-0 series win over the upstart Shandong Gold Lions to place themselves alongside the Bayi Rockets with the most titles in the CBA’s short history.

After a stunning loss to the Beijing Ducks in the 2011/12 CBA Finals, the Tigers made sure that their next trip would assure them of victory. And one of the reasons behind this season’s success was because of Yi Jianlian.

Following another unsuccessful stint in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, the former sixth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft made a return to the CBA and picked up where left off the last time he was in the league. After averaging 24.6 points and 10.5 rebounds over the season, it can be said that the seven-footer provided a great impact to his team’s pursuit in regaining the CBA crown.

With the season now over and respective provincial and regional teams preparing for the upcoming National Games in Liaoning province as well as the country’s various national teams gearing up for their summer schedules, one question that will consume many basketball enthusiasts’ minds in the coming months is whether Yi’s performance this season could secure him a contract with an NBA team next season.

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The good, the bad and the unexpected of CBA All-Star Weekend

March 1, 2013

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Jumping around a mininature car shoe whose hood is 5 inches off the ground equals “bad.”

OK, we’ll admit: Our recap of All-Star Weekend sucked this year. In part, that’s because our opinion from the 2011 Beijing edition has already been aired out loud and clear. But mostly it’s because our guy at Shark Fin Hoops, Andrew Crawford, made the journey down to sunny and warm Guangzhou last weekend to take in the festivities first-hand and to write us a report. Here’s the good, the bad and the unexpected from his Southern journey.

And if that’s not enough All-Star coverage for you, James Howden has a great write-up over on his blog about the game as well.

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2013 CBA All-Star Weekend Recap

February 25, 2013

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The 2013 Chinese Basketball Association All-Star Weekend pretty much went down like previous ones, failing for the most part to capture the overall atmosphere of the the NBA one it tries too hard to imitate. But that’s not to say there weren’t moments: As is becoming a yearly tradition, Guo Ailun went onto the court to give everyone a performance on Saturday night, Xirelijiang knocked down 10 threes in a row in the final round of the three-point competition to take home the trophy and and Yi Jianlian nabbed All-Star MVP honors with 34 points and eight rebounds as the South All-Stars defeated the North 120-117.

Here’s the rest of what went down last weekend in Guangzhou:

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Pooh Jeter and Zaid Abbas Interview

February 9, 2013

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For almost eight months in 2006-07 while I was studying abroad at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, I would wake up an extra 15 minutes early to walk in the complete opposite direction from my 8:00am morning class to buy the crown jewel of Chinese street food: Jianbing, a snack that has since been frequently immortalized on these very blog pages.

At night, I would come back to UIBE’s west gate to enjoy another, yet quite different staple of my China-college existence: Niu Da Wan, a 24-hour noodle spot that served beer, chuanr (lamb skewers), chicken wings and a whole bunch of other tasty stuff. On a steamy Beijing summer night, there was in my opinion no place better for this nearly broke language student to hang out, talk with friends and watch China slowly pass me by.

Memories of jianbing and chuanr stayed with me throughout my final year at the University of San Francisco, and I looked forward to the day when I would head back to two of my favorite spots and relive my tasty days of yore. But when I came back over a year later, not only were both places torn down and under construction; the entire west gate block had essentially been subjected to 2008 Olympics demolition, rendering my former stomping ground largely unrecognizable.

People who’ve watched the Shandong Gold Lions this season can relate.

Since their last playoff appearance in 2008-09, the Gold Lions have finished either tantalizingly close to a post-season spot or agonizingly deep down in the standings. Last season, despite a roster full of promising young talent, the team hit a low point, finishing among the last four teams while playing a rhythmless brand of basketball  and generally looking like a franchise without much in the way of short-term optimism.

Oh, how things can change in this country.

On the last day of the Year of the Dragon, the Gold Lions head into the new year on a red hot 15-game win streak and most importantly, having locked up the league’s No. 2 seed after defeating DongGuan on Wednesday at home. At 23-7 with two games remaining in the regular season, Shandong will head into the playoffs with a better record than defending champion Beijing and perennial contender Xinjiang, both of whom were among the list of teams expected to finish towards the top of the league.

The difference between last year and this year for the Gold Lions has been like night and day; or like 2007 and 2008 UIBE west gate. But whereas the Olympics spurred massive change over in NiuBBall.com’s old hood, it’s been a trio of foreign players, Pooh Jeter, Zaid Abbas and Jackson Vroman, who have helped lead the change this year in Jinan.

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

February 8, 2013

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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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Dominant Guangdong running away from the competition

February 1, 2013

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Parity. It’s something that is said to be increasing inside the Chinese Basketball Association, from third Asian imports (Zaid Abbas) leading previous bottom-dwellers to the playoffs to rules granting specific teams special privileges (need we single out Bayi?). And though it is apparent that the struggle to make the playoffs will be one of the fiercest in recent memory, it is just as clear that there is one frontrunner for the title this year.

The Guangdong Southern Tigers are running roughshod over the league, and it isn’t even close.

Every statistic comes just as impressive as the next for Guangdong. What’s more frightening: a 14 game winning streak or the fact that they have lost just four times all year? Taking into account that their average margin of victory during this win streak has been nearly 14 points, Guangdong has made nightly blowouts nearly routine. They haven’t skipped a beat under Jonas Kazlauskas; on the contrary, the undefeated coach has arguably taken the team to the next level.

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McGrady’s turnover, Gaines’ buzzer beater highlight CBA’s opening round

November 25, 2012

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The Chinese Basketball Association has officially started after Round 1 of the 2012-13 season wrapped up tonight.

And save for Gilbert Arenas’ untimely hip flexor last night, we don’t think it could have started any better.

There’s an overtime game in Shanxi to get to as well as Xinjiang’s impressive home win over Guangdong, but no doubt the game everyone wil be talking about will be Fujian’s dramatic buzzer beater to spoil Tracy McGrady’s debut with Qingdao.

Oh, and that turnover.

The script was set up for a storybook start to the season. T-Mac, who was excellent overall amassing 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, set up in an isolation with the game tied at 92 and the shot clock off. “The whole world is expecting McGrady to get the ball here,” the announcer said. And probably everyone watching was expecting that once he got the ball, he was going to send the Eagles home with a win.

But what happened instead, nobody could have predicted. Being pressured by his defender, Fujian’s Zhou Qixin, McGrady exposed the ball and got stripped before he could even get in range for a shot.

After a timeout to set up the last play, Fujian gave the ball to their American, Sundiata Gaines, whose first CBA debut finished in very simliar fashion to his first NBA game: A buzzer-beating three pointer to win the game. Video below.

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The definitive NiuBBall.com CBA preview

November 22, 2012

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Stephon Marbury and the Beijing Ducks won the title last year… But will they have enough to repeat in 2012-13? (Photo: Osports)

Moreso than ever, the Chinese Basketball Association has become quite difficult to predict pre-season.

It’s hard to predict first of all because we generally stink at predictions, but more importantly that the league is as deep as its ever been top-to-bottom. There’s a more than a few reasons for that — more off-season player movement, more players going abroad to train in the summer, better coaching in-country, a commitment to strength and conditioning programs and better foreign players all round out the top of our list. But the end result of all that should be a very watchable and exciting league this season. Which is a good thing for us fans, of course.

Bad thing for NiuBBall’s annual predictions, however.

By our count, there’s 11 and possibly 12 teams (depending on how well you think Tracy McGrady is going to do in Qingdao) who have a shot at the playoffs. That’s well over half the league. If you think DongGuan is ready to make a jump (we do), then there are now four teams who could sport legitimate Finals cases. Building on Beijing’s buck-the-trend run to a championship last year, there appears to be a level of parody in the league. Pencilling in the top two, top four and top eight is no longer easy.

So as always, take what is about to come with a grain of salt and know that most likely this will all be very wrong.

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Gilbert Arenas near deal with Guangdong

October 24, 2012

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According to American reports, Gilbert Arenas is on the verge of signing a deal with the Guangdong Hongyuan Southern Tigers.

While Mitt Romney and Barack Obama sparred on Monday over Sino-American trade policy, there’s one highly lucrative U.S. export market that is gaining momentum by the day: Former NBA All-Stars to the Chinese Basketball Association.

In a report first published by Yahoo! Sports, three-time NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas is on the verge of signing a deal with the Guangdong Southern Tigers. He becomes the second high-profile NBA name to sign in the Middle Kingdom this season, joining the Qingdao Eagles-bound Tracy McGrady.

Today, Guangdong general manger, Liu Hongjiang, moved to cool down American reports, saying that a deal hasn’t been formally reached and that there are still several particulars which still need to be worked out with Arenas and his representatives  He said that a final decision likely won’t be reached until the league’s pre-season.

For people following the story, Arenas’ move to China shouldn’t come as a huge shock. According an ESPN.com report in September, Arenas had been seriously considering China after it became apparent that he was not going to be targeted by an NBA team this off-season. A NiuBBall.com source confirmed a separate ESPN.com report written yesterday that Arenas was in negotiations with the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks earlier in the off-season, but the deal ultimately was unable to get done due to differences over salary.

Last season for the Memphis Grizzlies, Arenas averaged 4.2 points in 17 appearances.

Arenas will join a revamped Guangdong roster that includes the return of Yi Jianlian, who played with the team both as a youth player and as a professional before eventually being drafted into the NBA in 2007. The sight of one another this season in China will be a familiar one: Arenas and Yi played together in 2010-11 season with the Washington Wizards.

The addition of Arenas — and his former teammate Yi — clearly illustrates the goal of the Guangdong club this year: Win a championship at all costs. Last year’s Finals loss to Beijing was viewed as a serious step back and a black mark on the team’s image and ownership has made it clear that they are committed to re-investing large amounts of money to make sure there is no repeat of that failure this season. With the addition of Arenas, a big and strong scorer in the backccourt who can match-up with Marbury, and Yi, an NBA-caliber seven footer who will be under no playing time restrictions due to his registration as a Chinese player, the logic is easy to follow from an on-paper roster perspective.

The CBA season is slated to open up in late November, although the official schedule has yet to be released.

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Yi Jianlian returns to CBA, to play with Guangdong this season

September 24, 2012

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For the second straight season, Yi Jianlian will return to the Guangdong Southern Tigers, where he won a CBA championship in 2002. (Photo: Osports)

Europe called, but the NBA didn’t — and for Yi Jianlian, that means for the second straight season, he’ll be playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

According to Lu Yu, a member of Yi’s representative team, who spoke with NetEase yesterday, the 7-foot center will return to the team that raised him, the Guangdong Hongyuan Southern Tigers. According to the report, Yi has already flown back to Beijing from New York and will prepare to fly down to Guangdong to join his team.

This is the second consecutive season Yi has started the year with Guangdong. During the NBA lockout last year, he elected to sign a special contract with his old Chinese team that gave him an NBA out in the event that the work stoppage ended — a feature that Yi took advantage of when he was offered a one-year deal by the Dallas Mavericks.

In two games for the Southern Tigers last season, Yi averaged 23.5 points and 12.5 rebounds. After spending a re-adjustment period in the NBA D-League with the Texas Legends, Yi played 30 games for the Mavericks, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds.

The decision to return to China comes in an off-season where the 2007 lottery pick’s future was the least career of his professional career. For the first time since entering the NBA, Yi was not extended a guaranteed contract by an NBA team. Yi did, however, receive heavy interest from major teams in Europe, including Real Madrid. But throughout the entirety of Yi’s off-season, he maintained that his goal was to return to the NBA.

Like last season, Yi’s contract will include a release clause that will allow him a free NBA return if the opportunity presents itself. Speaking to Sina Sports, Yi said he would play out the entire 2012-13 season for Guangdong.

The impact of China’s best domestic player returning to the league will be felt league-wide. In addition to adding top-level international player in Yi, the Southern Tigers will be able to combine him with their two American imports, whom at present have not been officially announced. And since Yi will be registered as a Chinese player, he will be under no playing time restrictions.

The Southern Tigers’ four-year championship streak was snapped last season by the Beijing Shougang Ducks.

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Yi Jianlian’s preference is to play in NBA

August 21, 2012

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Yi Jianlian, who is reportedly receiving high levels of interest from top flight European teams, including Real Madrid, is committed to playing in the NBA next season.

Speaking to NetEase on Sunday, Lu Yu, a member of Yi’s representative team, said that although there has been communication with European teams, Europe is at this point a secondary option.

“For now, we’re not considering playing in Spain,” said Lu. “I can only say that Yi’s first choice is to return to the NBA.”

But after averaging career lows in points and rebounds last season for the Dallas Mavericks, it appears unlikely that there is a market for the seven-footer’s services in the NBA this year. Another issue is a strained MCL, which Yi suffered in the Olympics against Australia, which may be another major reason why teams have cooled their interest. Yi has struggled with staying healthy in the past, having never played more than 66 games in any of his five seasons.

With what looks to be a tough road back to the NBA, Europe may be Yi’s only choice. Yesterday, Spanish site Encestando reported that Yi is looking for a US $2.5 million salary from Real Madrid next season. That figure, however, looks to be too high for the Spanish giants, who like many other teams in that region, are dealing with a spiraling European economy. Yi’s salary, in addition to the considerable taxes that the club will have to pay on top of it, appears to be too much of a financial burden to carry, reports Encestando. In combination with his MCL, the exact severity of which is unknown at present, and Yi to Spain appears to be far from a done deal.

**UPDATE**

French outlet, BasketNews, is reporting that Real Madrid have cut off negotiations after considering Yi’s salary demands.

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Yi Jianlian rumored to Real Madrid

August 16, 2012

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Through the last three years, Yi Jianlian has saved his best for the international stage. It’s thus no wonder why, according to reports, Yi is receiving offers from high-profile teams in Europe.

According to a report out of PlanetACB.com in Spain, Real Madrid is seriously interested in signing the seven-foot center for the upcoming ACB season. The site also names Greek outfit Panathinaikos as another team who sees Yi as a fit. Wendell Maxey over at Crossover Chronicles has a report in English.

PlanetACB goes on to write that Yi’s decision to sign in Europe this season will depend on whether he can get a deal in the NBA, which is his preferred destination. However, coming off the heels of two lackluster seasons where he’s battled injures and inconsistent play, the common belief is that there is likely no market for the 2007 lottery pick’s services this season.

Yi played 30 games for Dallas last year, averaging 6.8 minutes and 2.6 points.

If the Guangdong native were to make it out to Spain, it would be another big coup for Real Madrid, who made a big splash earlier in the off-season by acquiring former player, Rudy Fernandez, who had spent the last four years in the NBA with Portland and Denver.

Last season, Real Madrid lost in the ACB finals to Barcelona. They did, however, manage to win the Copa del Rey.

 

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