McGrady Becomes Latest NBA Star to Play in China

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 3:20 am (UTC-5)
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Seven-time National Basketball Association All-Star Tracy McGrady is the latest U.S. player to spend the twilight of his career shooting hoops in China.

The 15-year NBA veteran wrote in a blog post on Tuesday that he is excited to play for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles, who have offered him a one-year contract. The 33-year-old is the highest-profile NBA player yet to join the Chinese Basketball Association.

McGrady is following in the footsteps of former NBA star Stephon Marbury, who has revived his struggling basketball career by leading the Beijing Ducks to their first ever championship last season. Other less prominent former NBA players, such as Bonzi Wells and Kenyon Martin have also enjoyed short stints in the Chinese league.

The steady influx of aging American players has helped boost the popularity of the 17-team CBA. But it has also helped fuel interest in the NBA, making China the league's largest non-U.S. market.

The NBA is coming off its most viewed season ever in China, and has capitalized on that interest by regularly bringing NBA exhibition games there.

The sixth NBA tour of China takes place this week when the reigning NBA-champion Miami Heat take on the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing on Wednesday and again in Shanghai on Sunday. Sell-out crowds are expected at both events.