Yi Jianlian May Have Lied About His Age, And Might Be 24, Not 21

I Guess Mistakes Like This Happen A Lot When You Have To Keep Track Of 1.3 Billion People

12/20/08 in NBA   |   Pat   |   5234 respect

What's worse than being stuck with an overpaid 21-year old foreign prospect who looks like he might never pan out?

Finding out that your prospect might actually be 24, and therefore has a lot less potential than you thought he did.

In all of the digging around in China's many age scandals stemming from the Olympics, someone came across this piece of evidence that Yi is 3 years older than everyone thought he was.

This is hardly shocking, since the Chinese have proven many times that they will lie however necessary to make their athletes look good. This time, instead of saying that their gymnasts were older than they really are, they apparently tried to pass off Yi Jianlian as 3 years younger than he really is.

The Nets are paying him around $3M per year through next season, with a team option for $4M in 2010-2011. There's no telling how the Nets will react, but I can imagine that his stock has dropped slightly, now that he may not be as young as they thought. Instead of drafting a high school aged player, the Bucks essentially drafted a guy who could be as old as your average college senior. If the rumors are true, Yi and his handlers gained themselves a few extra million, because it's almost a certainty that he wouldn't have been a lottery pick if teams had known his true age.

Is there anything the Nets can do about this? Probably not. This doesn't necessarily serve as enough proof, and he's probably not quite expensive enough for them to care enough to really push it. But this is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed further if the NBA is going to continue taking players from China and paying them like lottery picks. As they said in ancient Rome, caveat emptor (buyer beware).

Document Suggests Yi Jianlian 3-Years Older than Reported [Interbasket]
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12/21/08   |   streetballer123   |   3914 respect

Oh my goodness. Who the hell cares.

12/20/08   |   RichmondSpider

Guess the concept of "due dilligence" has not reached the NBA?

12/20/08   |   dolanadam   |   4 respect

There's got to be something they can do about that for sure, they got screwed.

12/20/08   |   Heyhey1970   |   194 respect

I wonder if this is enough evidence to force YI to produce a real birth certificate?  I'm sure the Nets would love to void that contract. 

12/20/08   |   Jdubb

I'm not surprised about Yi, or for that matter any foreign athlete.   If Lebron James was from a foreign country, I'd want to see his birth certificate because the guy looks 10 years older than the media guys says.