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Ibn Notes:  Believe it or not, Yao Ming wasn't the first Chinese player to play in the NBA.  It was Wang Zhizhi.  After being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks, the Chinese superstar had a following of Chinese fans in every city, fans hoping to catch the 7-0 sharpshooter displaying his multitudes of skills pm the cpurt.  However, Zhizhi found himself being used sparingly in Dallas with the development of Dirk Nowitzki and hustling role-player Eduardo Najera.  During the summer of 2002, China called for Wang Zhizhi to come back to China to train with their national team for the World Championships... after weeks of back and forth, Wang disappeared.  After 60 games in Dallas and his flat-out refusal to go home to China, Wang reappeared in Los Angeles, where he announced that he would not be going home to China.  Instead, he said that he was participating in the Clipper's summer League.  Chinese officials were not happy (and this had repercussions on Yao Ming's entry into the league the next year)  Zhizhi worked hard to impress, unfortunately, the hope of more minutes did not develop with the Clippers as he had hoped.  He was later waived and then signed by the Miami Heat, where playing time is again sparse for Wang Zhizhi.  And it's not looking good this season for Wang as the Heat obtained Antoine Walker. 
 王治郅 Profile

Name: Wang Zhizhi (Wong Schoo-Schoo)
Position: Center/Forward
Born: 07/08/1977
Status: Active
Origin: Beijing, China
Height: 7-1/2,16m
Weight: 275lbs./124,7kg
Schools: N/A
Drafted: 1999, Second Round, 36th pick by Dallas Mavericks
Languages: Chinese (Mandarin)
Website: InterBasket
Teams (jersey): Chinese National Team (15), Bayi Rockets (14), Dallas Mavericks (16), Los Angeles Clippers (16), Miami Heat (15)
IBN Facts: The first Chinese player to play in the NBA.  to Along with Chinese national team teammates Yao Ming (7-6) nd Mengke Bateer (6-10) to form what has become known as "The Walking Great Wall (of China)"  In the 1999-2000 CBA regular season, Zhizhi was named MVP of the season, the All-Star Game, and the Finals.  He also won the Slam Dunk contest that season.  Wang currently resides in Los Angeles during the offseason with his wife, Song Yang and their son, Jerry.
Time Yao ming may have been this year's No. 1 NBA draft pick, making him the man who could someday fill Shaq's immense shoes. But before Yao mania there was Wang Zhizhi, the first Chinese basketball player to play in the NBA. Wang was Yao's mightiest rival back in China, and continues to one-up him in at least one vital way. In the NBA, badness is synonymous with coolness, and 25-year-old Wang is the baddest Chinese athlete in history. Last summer, he quasi-defected from his home country. His three-year, $6 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers may seem puny compared with Yao's $18.03 million for four years, but Yao will be forking over a big chunk to his old bosses back in the mainland. And while Wang is settling into a new bachelor pad in L.A., Yao is living in the U.S. with his mommy. How cool is that?
Wang Zhizhi Links  From  our forum: Where is Wang?  PLA Tells Zhizhi rto Return China Basketball Forum  Article(s):  Wang Zhizhi's Fast Break (TIME Asia), Wang Zhizhi Interview (InsideHoops), It's a Waiting Game for Zhizhi (TimeAsia), China vs. Sydney Kings Video (YouTube), Wang Zhizhi Completes Trip to NBA (People's Daily, 2001), CBA wants to heal rift with Wang Zhizhi before 2008 (AP, 2006)