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Wednesday September 26, 2012

Top star Jianlian back in China after NBA journey

BEIJING: Chinese superstar Yi Jianlian has secured a one-year deal to return to his old club back home after the Chinese international failed to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks in the US.

The move to Guangdong Tigers leaves no Chinese-born players in the US National Basketball Association (NBA), potentially threatening the league’s efforts to build up its following in the huge Asian market.

Jianlian, a 2.13m (seven-foot) power forward, committed to play for the whole of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) 2012-2013 season, the Tigers reported on their website.

The NBA became hugely popular in China during the nine-year career of iconic centre Yao Ming, who retired in 2011.

But Jianlian, 24, never played a major role on court during his five-year NBA stint, averaging 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for four different clubs. Last season with the Mavericks, Yi averaged 2.6 points in just 30 games. — AFP

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