McGrady to play in Qingdao
( Xinhua )
BEIJING - Seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady has inked a one-year deal with China's CBA team Qingdao DoubleStar, a report said on Oct 10.
Tracy McGrady, former NBA superstar, reacts during his visit to Hefei, East China's Anhui province, Aug 27, 2011. [Photo/CFP]
McGrady, 33, has completed the deal and is expected to leave for the Chinese eastern city of Qingdao within the next seven to 10 days, according a report by Yahoo!Sports. The financial terms, however, were not disclosed.
McGrady, who has been bothered by knee problems in recent years, failed to secure an NBA contract for this season. He averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in his 15-year in NBA. The 2.03-meter forward most recently signed with the Atlanta Hawks as a free agent last year.
He then decided to try out his luck in China when Qingdao general manager Sheng Xishun extended the invitation.
"He is such an excellent player, with great talent and so much experience and impeccable techniques. It will be a great pity if he just finishes his career like this," Sheng was quoted as saying by Chongqing Times. "We have a young team, and we need him for all that."
McGrady will land the Chinese Basketball Association league as the highest profile player and be treated like a distinguished guest.
The club will offer him a five-star hotel suite or a high-end condo, Jinan Times reported.
"We would like to ensure he has a pleasant stay in Qingdao," Sheng said, according the Jinan Times.
McGrady's new teammates also are ready to give him a warm welcome as team captain Li Guang promised to show him around and introduce delicious food to him.
"He is sure to be the No.1 player in the team," Li Guang was quoted by Jinan Times. "I think we can learn much from him."
"I hope I can help him become adapted here. If he is interested in Chinese food, I am glad to introduce some local snacks," he added.
Even before McGrady set foot on Qingdao, he already has a large fan base, not only because his glorious days in NBA, but also because he once played alongside Yao Ming, one of the country's most popular sports figure, during his six seasons with the Houston Rockets.
McGrady is the latest of several NBA players who have sought to revive their flagging careers in China.
Two-time All-Star Stephon Marbury led the Beijing Ducks to their first-ever Chinese championship last season.
A far cry from a bad boy image at home, Marbury has cut a big brother figure in the young Beijing Ducks since his arrival in 2009-2010 season.
He won fans all over the vast country for embracing Chinese culture and his "love is love" mantra soon became the catchphrase on the lips of his supporters.