5 Top NBA Stars to Ball Out in the CBA

By Bryan Grogan, August 28, 2019

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It’s happened folks, Jeremy ‘Linsanity’ Lin is headed to the Middle Kingdom in a move that will undoubtedly spice up the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). In honor of Lin making the transition from the NBA to the CBA, we’ve put together a list of the five highest-profile players to spend time in the CBA. For this list we are only including players who swapped the NBA for the CBA (sorry Yao Ming).

5. Metta World Peace

Image via Wikimedia

The man best known for his part in the ‘Malice at the Palace’ and for changing his name from Ron Artest in 2011. World Peace joined the Sichuan Blue Whales for the 2014-2015 season, but played just 15 games for the West China side, averaging 19 points and six rebounds per game, before moving to Italy and bringing his short tenure in the Middle Kingdom to an end. 

4. J.R. Smith

Image via Wikimedia

Ah, the 2011 NBA lockout, what a glorious time to be a Chinese basketball fan. Best known for helping Lebron James capture an NBA championship with Cleveland in 2016, and for picking up the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2013, Smith joined up with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls for the 2011-2012 season and stormed the league, with an average of 34.4 points per game. 

3. Gilbert Arenas

Image via Wikimedia

Another controversial star, whose tribulations as an NBA star included that time when he brought a firearm into the Washington Wizards locker room. One of a number of former NBA stars playing in the CBA in 2011-2012, three-time NBA all-star Gilbert Arenas joined the Shanghai Sharks and also helped himself to a bucket-load of points, though the oft-disappointing Sharks fell well short of the playoffs. 

2. Stephon Marbury

Image via Wikimedia

Marbury had enjoyed a storied NBA career by the time he made it to China at the end of 2009, being named an all-star in two seasons and leading the line as part of the New Jersey Nets. Marbury’s travails in China are well-documented, as he went on to pick up three CBA championships in 2012, 2014 and 2015. Today, he’s still involved with the CBA, only instead of tearing up the hardwood he’ll be barking out plays as the new head coach of the Beijing Royal Fighters.

1. Tracy McGrady

Image via Wikimedia

Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady suited up for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles for a season back in 2012-2013. He picked his classic No. 1 jersey for himself (which was later retired by the team) and notched an average of 25 points per game. Not bad for a superstar in the twilight of his career, right?

Do you agree with our picks? Let us know in the comments below. 

READ MORE: NBA Champion Jeremy Lin is Joining the Beijing Ducks

[Cover image via Wikimedia]

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