June 25, 2002

Finally, somebody admits, "It's about the money":
Wang Zhizhi claims he's not going to defect to the United States in the latest piece on his situation with the NBA and Chinese Baksetball. But the best part of this story is the last quote when he discusses his NBA options as a restricted free agent and whether he'll return to the Mavs. Must be the language barrier or something...

posted by Conquistador to basketball at 11:28 AM - 3 comments

Your premise is entirely invalid. In the first place, Wang never uttered a word of his so-called "comments" as quoted in that article. I spent quite a bit of time around Wang during the past year, and the best English sentence he managed to produce was on the order of, "Run hard, strong push, shoot three." This Simon Chang, or whoever he is, came out of nowhere to take on the role of "advisor" to Wang, and is now leading him around by the nose. In Wang's defense, he doesn't want to be forced to go home and serve in the Red Army. He wants to stay in the U.S. and play basketball. He wants to make money. Wouldn't you? Unfortunately, the last thing David Stern wants is to piss off his new friends in the Chinese government by allowing Wang to defect. The Mavericks will be under serious pressure to convey this message to Wang. Still, I hope he defects, just to watch the stink envelop the NBA. Then let's see how these idiots enjoy their new image as the "International Basketball Association" when it's suddenly in direct opposition to the principles of freedom and self-determination. My prediction: Poor Wang is going to learn a hard lesson about life.

posted by Bob Jones at 12:43 PM on June 25, 2002

My point here was that while American born players love to insist that their choices "aren't about the money" when we know they are. So it was refreshing to see someone actually indicate that the money may have something to do with what NBA team they sign with. Maybe I was not clear enough on this point. My post stated that "the best part of this story is the last quote when he discusses his NBA options as a restricted free agent and whether he'll return to the Mavs." I was not implying that money was influencing him one way or the other in terms of defection, but like every other NBA player, influencing which NBA team he inked with. If his words (via interpreter) aren't really what he's feeling, he should seek new management. Then again, he probably doesn't know that he's being misrepresented, if in fact he is. And with that said, if he doesn't know that his interpreter is misleading people, how could anyone else? The sad thing is that he's a pawn; whether he's being controlled by the Chinese government or David Stern is irrelevant. Then again, if it weren't for the NBA, this guy wouldn't have much choice at all, would he?

posted by Conquistador at 06:45 PM on June 26, 2002

Conqui, you're absolutely right that Wang is responsible for picking his own representation. But he's a fish out of water in the U.S., and who is he supposed to trust? The Mavericks? David Stern? Wang's comment (through his so-called interpreter) about money is irrelevant to the real issue, which is his freedom to live as a human being. What contract isn't about money? What player's agent doesn't base his negotiations with management on money? You say, "If it weren't for the NBA, this guy wouldn't have much of a choice." Wang faces some fine choices. He can either go home, against his will, and suit up in his Red Army uniform, or he can defect, get himself banned from the NBA for insubordination, and wash dishes for a living in a Chinese restaurant. That is, if the government doesn't just pull his green card and ship him back, anyway.

posted by Bob Jones at 04:09 PM on June 27, 2002

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