Houston Community News >> Yao Ming and NBA Exhibition

7/12/2006 Houston -- It was announced on Friday that a US team featuring NBA players like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade will play two exhibition games in China for the first time in August.

Injured Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is hopeful that he'll recover in time to join the Chinese team, according to Li Yuanwei, president of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

Doctors have suggested Yao, who broke his left foot on April 10 in Utah, not to play any games until August 1. Despite his injuries, Yao joined his teammates in a training session on Saturday, the first time since returning to China last month. In the latest six warm-ups in Italy, China only managed to clinch two wins, beating Venezuela 78-73 and Japan 80-75.

Former NBA player Wang Zhizhi dominated the series while Yao was out of action. Wang averaged 23 points and 9.8 rebounds and was the top scorer for China in five games. He netted 44 points in the game with Japan, which broke the highest scoring record held by Yao, who scored 39 points in a match against New Zealand at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Kaslauskas said Italy and France didn't field the best lineups for the warm-ups, each team with four to five usual starters on the DNP (Did Not Play) roster. Gong Luming, manager of the China team, said that the current squad has many inside players including Yao, so the head coach is confident of under-ring play and the departure of Tang and Hu is reasonable.

Point guard Sun Yue from the Beijing Aoshen team, the other Chinese who was supposed to have joined the NBA draft, withdrew his application at the last minute. He will continue to play for Aoshen in the American Basketball Association (ABA) next season and wait for a more timely opportunity to join the NBA. Standing at 2.05m, Sun is a point guard with a style of play that reminds many of the great Earvin "Magic" Johnson of the LA Lakers. A force to be reckoned with, Sun was selected for the West All-Star team in the ABA All-Star Game in February.