McGrady looking forward to playing in China
Updated: 2012-10-11 09:46
BEIJING - Seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady said on Wednesday that he is looking forward to playing in China after Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles offered him a one-year contract worth at least $1 million, Yahoo!Sports reports.
"There are times in life that a new road presents itself and it appears this tie has come for me now," McGrady wrote in his blog on Wednesday. "I am so proud of what I have accomplished these past 15 years playing in the NBA."
"As I enter this next chapter, I am excited to play for Qingdao Eagles in China. I have been to China several times in the last few years and I love the people and the country."
McGrady, 33, is expected to leave for Qingdao within the next seven to 10 days, according a report by Yahoo!Sports.
McGrady failed to secure an NBA contract for this season after 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.
When Qingdao Eagles general manager Sheng Xishun extended the invitation, McGrady decided to give it a try in China.
Sheng said McGrady could play a valuable role in his team despite his injuries.
"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."
Sheng admitted that the injuries could be a potential threat to their investment but said every player can be victim to injuries.
"It is a risk we must take," he said.
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.
Tracy McGrady, left, and Yao Ming, right, of the Houston Rockets pose for a portrait photo at the Tiananmen Square to promote the 2004 NBA China Games between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Beijing, in this Oct 15, 2004 file photo. [Photo/CFP]
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.
Qingdao ranked the eighth in the 17-team CBA in the last season.