So much for the riches of the NBA. Basketball star Yi Jianlin is taking a hefty paycut to leave China and join the LA Lakers, where he will earn 80% less in Los Angeles than he was paid by Guangdong Hongyuan, reports Sina Sports. Yi will earn an equivalent of Rmb4 million ($600,618) after tax, the news site says.
Yi announced his move immediately after China’s national team exited the Olympics. Despite the team’s poor performance (it lost five straight games) Yi was a strong performer, with Apple Daily noting the 28 year-old averaged 20.4 points per match and 6.6 rebounds.
This isn’t the forward’s first time playing in the NBA, mind you. As we reported in WiC166, Yi had a relatively unsuccessful time in the US. After injury problems the Dallas Mavericks failed to renew his contract in 2012 (he’d also played for the Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Jets and Washington Wizards).
This time he’ll be hoping for greater success. As for the Lakers, they are taking a gamble on a man who struggled to make the grade in the US. Perhaps one factor in their decision was the retirement of their superstar Kobe Bryant. Recruiting the popular Yi may keep TV viewership figures high in China and boost sales of jerseys to his fans.
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