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Tracy McGrady is impressed by his growing and appreciative Chinese fan base, but not enough to stay in China for the CBA All-Star Game.
McGrady, the CBA's high-profile import with the Qingdao Eagles, has enjoyed huge support from Chinese diehards during the regular season, but won't be able to pay them back with an All-Star appearance.
The former NBA scoring champion announced on Monday that he won't take part in this weekend's All-Star Game although he earned 2,218,388 votes to lead the poll.
"Unfortunately, I won't be able to play in the game as I have been dealing with the sickness of my grandmother for a few weeks.
"She is the most influential person in my life and I will be flying home to spend time with her. Hope you all understand my predicament," McGrady said on his micro blog.
Although Qingdao's manager, Sheng Xishun, said in a Beijing Youth Daily report that McGrady's All-Star appearance "won't be a problem", McGrady declined the invitation.
"I never announced anything. How could the club make the decision for me?" he responded to a question about his availability for the All-Star Game at practice on Sunday.
(China Daily 02/19/2013 page24)