If you didn’t know, Tracy McGrady is now playing in the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s not going well for his new team, the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. They are winless in the new season. Coincidentally, they played Yao Ming’s winless (0-3) Shanghai Sharks Sunday afternoon in Shanghai.
Surprisingly, there are still lots of McGrady fans in China from his days playing with Yao in Houston. Many of them showed up at the game to pay homage.
On top of that, millions of basketball fans in China were looking forward to watching on TV Yao and McGrady meet up, hopefully on the court for all to see. But unfortunately it didn’t happen. The only solace was McGrady pointing to Yao up in the stands.
Yao and McGrady were scheduled to have dinner the night before, but it had to be postponed since Qingdao’s head coach arranged for a team meeting that conflicted with it.
But they were able to meet up Sunday evening after the game. No really good photos are available other than the one below with Yao, McGrady and other guys on The Bund after dinner.
Although McGrady played well (23 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks), Qingdao lost their 4th game in a row, and are 0-4 on the season.
Fortunately for Yao, his Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks played their best game of the season, snapped their own winless streak, and now have a 1-3 record.
For more photos and coverage of the game and the events around it, click here.
As many long time readers of this site have known, I have limited myself over the years to not accept commercial opportunities. Sure, I have ads that run on the site, but they really aren’t that intrusive.
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The NY Times posted this article on Sunday about how much Jeremy Lin is enjoying being out of the spotlight this season. Jeremy was quoted Sunday morning at the Rockets’ shootaround in Los Angeles with the following:
“It’s really, really low-key. And it’s really peaceful. When I walk around, I don’t wear a hat or glasses or anything — unless I want to.”
I like how Jeremy is able to focus more on his game this season in Houston. He’s had some good moments, and also some bad moments that probably has made his doubters who predicted he wouldn’t be as great as last season in New York feel vindicated, and that it’s time to try winning some money at Party Casino or something.
But I believe once the stable of new Rockets players get to know each other better, start developing some confidence, and Kevin McHale gets back to the team from his leave of absence, Jeremy’s point totals and shooting percentage will start going up, and the turnovers will go down. He’s too smart and too much of a hard worker to be a disappointment.
If you hadn’t heard, Tracy McGrady has taken his talents to China since his career in the NBA is basically over. Specifically, McGrady signed with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association.
He received an incredible welcome at the Qingdao airport about 10 days ago (see photo below). You never know in China if ‘fans’ like this are paid by a sponsor (Adidas in this case) to create a good photo-op and publicity for their brand. But regardless, it’s amazing that an athlete way past his prime can get this kind of turnout and adulation in China.
Click here for more photos of the greeting McGrady received at the airport.
He was then picked up by a Rolls Royce and taken to a 5-star hotel (part of his contract demands), where he was welcomed by traditional Chinese lion dancers.
Click here for more photos of the welcome that McGrady received at the hotel.
The next day, the chairman of the Quingdao Double Star Group held a welcome reception for McGrady, and gave him new pairs of special shoes produced by their company, one of the biggest low-cost athletic shoe companies in China.
Click here for more photos of McGrady at the reception.
McGrady’s stay in the hotel didn’t last long, though, since he decided to move to another 5-star hotel, the Quingdao Haitian Hotel, which is closer to the new stadium (pictured below).
McGrady soon practiced with his teammates for the first time.
Click here for more photos of McGrady working out, and at the practice.
Some reporters mentioned that McGrady was much slower than he used to be, had lost much of his lift in his jump shots, and even missed an uncontested dunk with no players around him.
McGrady’s services don’t come cheap to Qingdao, though. Here are some of the details of his contract:
- In addition to the team paying for his 5-star hotel as his residence, he will be paid between US $800,000 to $1 million for one year, and the team will have an option to sign him after the first year.
- If the team makes the playoffs, he can’t leave. He has to continue playing.
- To prevent J.R. Smith-like incidents from happening, he will be penalized $10k for skipping a practice and $50k for skipping a game without legitimate reasons
- On road trips, he has to stay in the same hotel with his teammates that the team has arranged for them.
- He will receive an allowance for a couple of round-trip tickets to the U.S. to see his family, or his family wants to visit him in China on certain Chinese holidays.
On Sunday, Yao attended an NBA exhibition game in Shanghai between the Clippers and Heat. Yao greeted some of the players, like LeBron James…
…and NBA legend Bill Russell…
At halftime, Yao was surprised with a gift from graffiti artist David Garibaldi, who painted an oil painting of Yao in the arena during the game. Garibaldi placed fourth in the “America’s Got Talent” show.
Finally, at the beginning of the 4th quarter when both teams started playing their backups, the full capacity crowd of 18,000 chanted in unison Yao Ming’s name, pleading for him to come on to the court and play. In Yao’s typical understated style, he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled to the fans.
As you probably know, the NBA was in China last week and this weekend as the Clippers and Heat played an exhibition game in Beijing last Thursday, and played another game in Shanghai on Sunday.
Before Sunday’s game in a press conference with NBA commissioner David Stern and Yao Ming, Stern announced the NBA will be supporting Yao’s bi-annual Foundation charity game in China starting the summer of 2013. [Note: this story has been updated to reflect a bi-annual game, not an annual one as previously reported].
This is great news since a game wasn’t played this summer because of the conflict with the Olympic games in London, and Yao’s career-ending injuries and retirement impacted plans for a game in 2011.
The NBA also announced they have agreed to help players and coaches in the Chinese Basketball Association for the next 3 years.
This past summer, the NBA announced it will work in China with the Yao Ming Foundation on a broad and comprehensive partnership to further basketball participation, develop youth basketball, promote cultural exchange and conduct social responsibility programs in China. In addition, Yao will collaborate with the league to launch basketball and social development programs for Chinese youth through NBA Cares and the Yao Foundation for communities in need.
If you’re interested, here’s the video of the press conference where Stern and Yao talk about the benefits of the NBA working with Yao and basketball in China. Here are more photos from the press conference.
Last week Yao was in Perth, Australia to watch his Shanghai Sharks play in the Cable Beach Invitational basketball tournament for the second consecutive year. Also competing in the tourney were the Perth Wildcats, Singapore Slingers, and CBA team Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
Below Yao is pictured in front of the Perth skyline with Andrew Vhahov, the owner of the Perth Wildcats.
As evident through its name, the tournament is held in a unique setting: on the beach. Below Yao shoots on Wednesday, 9/26, some free throws on the temporary court setup on the beach, with friend and former teammate Liu Wei looking on.
Below is another photo of the court as the Sharks played the Lions later that night [the Sharks won the game).
The next day (the 27th), Yao looked on as his Sharks beat Singapore 49-40. Below is a unique photo of Yao with other fans that you normally don’t see:
Yao couldn’t stick around for the Sharks’ final game of the tournament against the Perth Wildcats on Thursday the 28th, having to fly back to Shanghai. Below a few people snapped photos of Yao at the Guangzhou airport (where he arrived from Perth on his way to Shanghai) going through security just like anyone else.
And below is a photo of Yao with some of the flight crew.
Unfortunately for Yao’s Sharks while he was traveling, they lost their game against the Perth Wildcats 71-37.
A few days ago, GQ China announced their 2012 Men of the Year awards. Twenty international and Chinese personalities were picked. Jeremy Lin was picked as Man of the Year in the category of Best International Sports Personality.
Click here for more photos of Jeremy from the GQ China photo shoot.
Yao also received an award for his contribution to philanthropic and charity efforts. We don’t believe Yao had photos taken by GQ, but if we come across any, we’ll post them here.
Some of the other personalities awarded were:
- Tony Leung Chiu Wai: Man of the Year: Best Actor
- Anthony Wong Yiu Ming: Man of the Year: Best Musician
- Nicky Wu Jilong: Man of the Year: Best Contemporary Artist
- Feng Xiaofeng: Man of Year: Newcoming Actor
- Tadao Ando: Man of the Year: International Cultural Exchange
- Lapo Elkann: Man of the Year: Best Dressed
- Sun Yang: Man of the Year: Best Sports Personality
Since our last update on Jeremy Lin’s trip in China and Taiwan, you won’t believe how busy he has been!. Here’s a rundown of what he’s been doing over the past couple of weeks.
Jeremy continued to run his 4-day basketball camp in Dongguan through August 22nd.
Click here for tons of photos of Jeremy at the camp.
On the evening of August 22nd, Jeremy made his first trip to Hong Kong, and the next day (August 23rd) he spent his 24th birthday there. Check out the cool cake below.
On August 24th, Jeremy made his first public appearance in Hong Kong to share his amazing story of success with hundreds of Hong Kong’s youth at “K11,” the world’s first art gallery and shopping mall.
The event was sponsored by New World Group, one of Hong Kong’s leading conglomerates, which launched a new community program called New World Springboard to help young people pursue their dreams through sports participation.
During the Q&A session, Jeremy was asked if he has any preference in the nationality (American, Taiwanese, Chinese or Hong Kong) of a future wife. He said he doesn’t care where his future wife comes from as long as she loves God, and loves serving other people.
Jeremy also shared how he spends his free time, and he responded with the following chart (basketball 5 hours per day, family time & relaxing 3 hours, and Bible reading 30 minutes).
Sohu.com reported that throughout the summer, Jeremy has been working on improving the dexterity of his left hand, using it to dribble, penetrate and pass more. He also told reporters that he lost some weight to reduce the pressure on his knees, but he has become much stronger and muscular in his upper body.
Click here for more photos of Jeremy at the New World Springboard event.
Jeremy was also the main attraction at a Christian testimonial sharing session titled “The Story Behind Linsanity” that had 8,000 attendees at the Asia World Expo in Hong Kong.
After staying in Hong Kong for a few days, Jeremy flew back to Taiwan where he started another basketball camp on August 27th, this time in Taipei. Compared to the camp he held in Dongguan, China, this one seemed oriented to having more fun because it had younger boys and girls participating.
Click here for more photos from the camp in Taiwan.
The next day after the camp opened, Jeremy worked out for more than two hours with former Golden State teammate David Lee, who also came to Taiwan for the camp.
Later, Jeremy took Lee and his fiancee to the famous Shihlin Night Market to do some prawn fishing where Jeremy snagged 11 prawns!
On August 29th, Jeremy and David Lee made a surprise visit to some basketball courts in Taipei (the XinSheng Courts) around 10:00pm and played 4-on-4 against three other teams. The two other players on Jeremy’s team was his brother Joshua, and Jeremy’s strength & conditioning coach Josh Fan.
Click here for more photos from the street ball session. And here’s a video featuring the guys going to the playground and hooping it up:
On his next day of training, Jeremy was seen putting his hands in a bucket of rice grain.
He said he does this 3-4 times a week because it strengthens his fingers to help reduce the chance of injury, and helps him with his finger rolls. He said a lot of quarterbacks in the NFL also do this.
On August 31st, Jeremy went to a primary school in Hualian where he played with 200 boys and girls, who are either orphans or from poor families.
You can tell Jeremy really loves being with the kids. Click here for more photos of Jeremy at the school.
On September 1st, Jeremy attended the launch of the Volvo V60 in the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall.
Click here for more photos of Jeremy at the Volvo event.
Jeremy made his last public appearance in Taiwan on September 2nd at a religious testimonial sharing event in Xinzhuang Stadium (Taipei Baby Dome) in New Taipei City, sponsored by GOODTV of Taiwan.
The stadium was filled to full-capacity and was streamed over the Internet to about 700 religious communities all over Taiwan, and even to Malaysia, Singapore, and the U.S.
One of the miracles that Jeremy shared was how he grew to be 5 inches taller and 30 kilograms heavier than the next person in his family. Click here for some of the other miracles he mentioned, and for more photos from the event.
On Monday, September 3rd, Jeremy flew back to Guangzhou (in China) so he could attend the opening ceremony the next day of the KFC-China national youth 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Below is a photo of Jeremy signing a jersey of a member of last year’s championship team.
This will be the ninth year of the tournament, which will be a record breaking year with more than 33,300 participating teams with more than 176,800 young players competing for the national championship in over 500 cities.
Jeremy was invited to speak a few words of encouragement for the young players. He told them to place an emphasis on both their academics in addition to basketball. He said basketball is very important to him, but an injury could end his professional career at any time. He said that’s why it’s good to have academic achievements and degrees that one can fall back on when a player’s career is over.
Click here for more photos of Jeremy at the tournament.
Following the event, after a long one-month trip in China and Taiwan, Jeremy and his colleagues returned to the U.S…probably very exhausted mentally and physically.
Thanks go to Raymond for helping put all of this information together.