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NBA Commissioner Stern speaks highly of Chinese player Wang Zhizhi

Updated: 2014-01-17 14:48
( Agencies)

NBA Commissioner Stern speaks highly of Chinese player Wang Zhizhi
Wang Zhizhi of China attempts a free throw during their game against Qatar at the Asian Basketball Championships on August 11. [Photo/CFP] 

LONDON - NBA Commissioner David Stern was full of praise of Wang Zhizhi, China's first NBA player, as he learned the former Dallas Mavericks forward is about to retire at the end of the season.

"Wang Zhizhi reminds me of Bill McAdoo," Stern said at the press conference before the NBA Global Game between Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets in London's O2 Arena.

"He may retire but he'll keep shooting. He was a terrific player and a great spokesperson for Chinese basketball, and he had a very accurate eye, and I'm sure the CBA will miss him."

The 36-year-old Wang, who currently plays for Bayi Rockets in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), became the first Chinese player to join the NBA in 2001 for the Dallas Mavericks. He also played for Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat before returning to the home league in 2006.

McAdoo, who played at the NBA for 14 years and won the champions twice, later played in Europe for seven years and became one the best U.S. players Europe had ever seen.

Wang was later overshadowed by Yao Ming after the giant Shanghai center joined the Houston Rockets in 2002.

Since Yao retired in 2010, there has been no Chinese player in the NBA.

Stern believed it's just a matter of time there will be more to come.

He said, "Of course we're hopeful that there will be other Chinese players. A country that has as much basketball interest as China and a billion plus people to go with it at 300 million playing basketball is going to produce more NBA players.

"We're working with the CBA on training techniques and sports training issues, and we think that there will come a time when we will have many more Chinese players."