Tracy McGrady joins Chinese team
BEIJING -- Seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady says he is headed for China to play for the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association.
The NBA was my University and I learned so much. The gratitude I feel is really immeasurable. I have experienced the best moments a player can experience and have had some dark ones too. Both equally important in helping shape me into the man I am today.” -- Tracy McGrady, in blog post announcing he will play in China
McGrady, 33, will be the highest-profile player in the CBA. Because he played with Chinese basketball star Yao Ming during their days with the Houston Rockets, he is well known in China, and his contract has been the top news on China's major sports news sites.
A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at the basketball club said she had no information. McGrady's announcement on his website Tuesday did not give terms for the one-year contract. Chinese media reports say the contract is worth at least $1 million.
McGrady said he is excited to play for the Eagles in eastern China and that "it will be an honor" to play for the Chinese people.
McGrady's announcement reads like a farewell to the NBA, and he thanks various players, past and present, for educating him.
"I consider myself a student of the game as I have watched, studied and played with and against the best players in the world," McGrady wrote in his blog post. "The NBA was my University and I learned so much. The gratitude I feel is really immeasurable. I have experienced the best moments a player can experience and have had some dark ones too. Both equally important in helping shape me into the man I am today."
He also thanked ESPN's Stephen A. Smith for giving NBA "players a voice."
McGrady played for the Atlanta Hawks last season but failed to secure an NBA contract for the upcoming season and was considering retirement when he was approached by Qingdao management.
McGrady also thanked NBA fans for supporting him.
"Thank you to every fan that has followed me and believed in me. Injuries and all, I wouldn't have changed a thing," he wrote. "I am proud of the mark I left on this game and am grateful to have been a part this league. It was a dream to play in front of all of you, each night, in every stadium. Thank you."
McGrady is the latest NBA player to seek a new chapter in China. Stephon Marbury led the Beijing Ducks to the CBA championship in the 2011-12 season.
"There are times in life that a new road presents itself and it appears this time has come for me now," McGrady wrote on his website.
Qingdao was ranked eighth in the 17-team CBA last season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.