The Story of the First Chinese NBA Player: Wang Zhizhi | by Javad Luckey | Sports Raid | Sep 2022

By | September 21, 2022

Earlier than Yao Ming, there was Wang Zhizhi. It is his story.

In case you are a basketball card fan, you might need come throughout the title Wang Zhizhi and questioned why his playing cards all the time appear to be fairly costly. This, even if he averaged simply 4.4 factors per recreation over his 137-game NBA profession. Nicely, learn on to be taught extra about Wang Zhizhi and why he’s distinguished within the annals of NBA historical past.

Should you ever come throughout a card autographed by Wang Zhizhi, it is in all probability value greater than you assume.

Though Yao Ming has a fame as the perfect Chinese language participant within the NBA, he was not the primary Chinese language participant drafted into the NBA. This historic individual is none aside from Wang Zhizhi. He was chosen by the Dallas Mavericks with the thirty sixth general decide in 1999, shocking nearly everybody.

When he was drafted, he was really already beneath contract with a Chinese language Basketball Affiliation group, the Bayi Rockets, the place he was the dude. They did not need to lose him. The Bayi Rockets had been within the midst of a historic CBA dynasty, in order that they did not let him out of contract.

Starting within the CBA roster’s first season, in 1995-96, Wang had led his group to win the CBA Championship actually yearly for the reason that league’s debut. From 1995 to 2001, the championship trophy was all the time within the palms of the Rockets, and Wang Zhizhi was the rationale.

In 2001, after prolonged contract negotiations together with his group in China, they lastly reached agreements that allowed Wang to go to the NBA. In the meantime, again within the CBA, it left the sector open and got here Yao Ming, who, collectively together with his Shanghai Sharks, ended the Rockets’ lengthy dynasty instantly after Wang’s departure. Nearly as good as Yao Ming was, he was by no means capable of beat the mighty Wang.

Arriving in Dallas to play for the Mavericks will need to have been a little bit of a shock to the system, as Wang went from being the most effective in your complete league in China to a backup on the finish of the Mavericks’ rotation. Actually, in his rookie season, he solely performed 5 video games in complete.

Instantly after his rookie 12 months, Wang needed to rush to China for 2 calls for that had been beforehand agreed upon in his contract negotiations to depart the ABC. The deal was that he would play for China within the 2001 East Asian Video games, which he did.

After that, because the NBA season received underway, Wang then needed to go and play on the 2001 CBA Chinese language Nationwide Video games in November 2001, the place Wang helped lead his group to a one-point closing victory over the Shanghai Sharks of Yao Ming. Nearly as good as Yao Ming was within the NBA, within the ABC’s battle for supremacy, Yao Ming may by no means beat Wang.

Returning to the Mavericks late, and after having a grueling streak of high-level competitors, it definitely wasn’t a great state of affairs for younger Wang, however he did handle to develop into a extra constant contributor to the Mavericks in his second season. with them. . He performed a complete of 55 video games, averaging about 11 minutes per recreation, 5.6 factors and a pair of rebounds.

The top of his second season in Dallas was additionally the tip of his contract. His future was a bit up within the air. Would he keep within the NBA or return to China?

He determined to remain for the summer time to ponder his subsequent steps. Nevertheless, as a part of the unique contract he signed with the Mavericks, it stipulated that in the summertime after the 2001–02 season, Wang must return to China to coach with the Chinese language nationwide group. As an alternative, Wang determined to remain in the USA and moved to Los Angeles, with out informing both the Mavericks entrance workplace or Chinese language nationwide group officers. The Chinese language nationwide group tried to get Wang again to China to coach with the group, however Wang ignored their makes an attempt to speak.

At this level, there even started to be studies that Wang was contemplating defecting to the USA and didn’t need to return to China. Whether or not or not that is true is unknown, and Wang later claimed that it was all an enormous misunderstanding. Finally, in the course of the offseason, Wang ended up signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, however he was additionally fired from the Chinese language nationwide group for not returning and coaching with the group.

Throughout Wang’s 12 months with the Clippers, he performed 41 video games, averaging about 10 minutes per recreation, 4.4 factors and a pair of rebounds.

After only one 12 months with the Clippers, he was waived and the Miami Warmth rushed to supply him a two-year contract. Nevertheless, in his two years in Miami, he solely performed a complete of 34 video games, averaging almost 5 minutes in timeouts per recreation and simply 2.5 factors.

After this sequence of quite unsuccessful years within the NBA, Wang did not see a lot curiosity from different groups attempting to signal him, so he determined to return to China and a 12 months later he joined. his former group, the Bayi Rockets.

Instantly, Wang’s return had an impression, as he led his Rockets to an CBA Championship and was named CBA Finals MVP.

Wang Zhizhi continued to play within the CBA till 2014 when he retired from basketball, and shortly after turned his Rockets’ assistant coach. In 2018, he took over as head coach, and stays there immediately.

Throughout his CBA profession, Wang averaged 22.3 factors and eight.4 rebounds per recreation. His greatest 4 years within the CBA had been the 2 earlier than he arrived within the NBA and the 2 after his return, the place he averaged over 26 factors and as many as 11.7 rebounds per recreation.

Wang Zhizhi could not have had a really profitable NBA profession, however he’s a legend in China. His CBA profession could also be the perfect he is ever had.

As China has develop into a sizzling spot for gathering basketball playing cards over the previous decade, it is smart that its playing cards are priceless within the Chinese language home market immediately. As such, immediately you could find his playing cards rather more than different gamers with this type of NBA profession.

Watch my YouTube video on Wang Zhizhi!