Chinese Christmas for former NBA stars

Updated: 2011-12-26 13:36


  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

BEIJING - This could be their most memorable Christmas abroad: basketball games, as usual; cheers and tears, as usual; Christmas night, in China.

Their old friends, at the same night in North America, were embracing the hard-won NBA openers, while Aaron Brooks, Macus Williams and J.R. Smith were playing hard here in China.

"I miss my home, but I love my bros in this team," said Brooks, who scored 21 points on Sunday and gifted the CBA defending champions another victory against Shanxi.

The 26-year-old former Houston Rockets and Phenix Suns player joined the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) club Guangdong Hongyuan only a month ago, marking the latest NBA player to escape -- only 10 days after he signed his name on the contract with Guangdong, the 149-day lockout broke up.

"I am playing here with no regret, although I desire to continue my career in NBA,"  he said.

Brooks averages 18 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists in 13 CBA games. It is certainly not a highlighted statistics, but he brings the team sharpness and energy.

"He is sharp in attacking and he is getting into character," said Guangdong's coach Li Chunjiang.

At this Christmas night, Brooks could easily find one of his old friends here: Macus Williams, a former Nets player who played for Shanxi this season, scored a game high 35 points.

Williams averaged 28.8 points this season, only paled before two players. One of them is J.R. Smith.

The former Nuggets guard is now enjoying his most favorable time in China. He scored 33 points with 7 3-pointers made to lead Zhejiang Chouzhou a comfortable away win at Christmas night.

However, the  "bad boy"  had experienced his bad days. Getting injured in his CBA debut, the 3-pointer elite said he was disappointed at CBA. Then he was doubted by many that he would go back to NBA.

But two days later, he came back to the court, beyond the imagination of many more.

The 26-year-old now averages 35.5 points in 14 games, topping the CBA scorers list. However, he owed his outstanding performance to Steven Marbury, the former Knicks All-Star player who came to China in 2009.

After Smith got injured, the 34-year old told him "how to do and how to say" in CBA.

Brooks, Williams, and Smith are obligated to play the full season in China, according to their contracts, But Marbury's words might become their comfort when they miss home.

"Merry Christmas, China. I love you because you say you love me. Love is Love!"  Marbury, who has more than 1.8 million followers on his microblog said at the Christmas Eve.