After a bit of speculation and uncertainty, the Los Angeles Lakers officially signed Chinese import Yi Jianlian this week to a one-year deal. Jianlian hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012, but the seven-footer caught the attention of the Lakers brass and as a result inked a deal with the team.
A day after the signing with Los Angeles became official, former Laker Jeremy Lin took to Twitter to congratulate him on the deal with the Lakers:
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) August 23, 2016
Lin is one of the few Asian players in the league history that has been able to stand the test of time. Lin’s road to success in the NBA has by no means been an easy one as it took some time before he was able to prove himself. It wasn’t until the Harvard product burst on the scene with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 NBA season that “Linsanity” began resulting in the Asian-American becoming a household name.
Jianlian could be going down a similar path in comparison to Lin in terms of needing a second chance. Although Lin went undrafted in 2010 and had to earn his way onto an NBA roster, Jianlian was a high lottery pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007. Jianlian failed to live up to expectations from 2007 to 2012 as the Chinese star bounced around the NBA quite a bit before heading back to China to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers from 2012 to 2016.
The Lakers have given Jianlian a second chance in the NBA with an incentivized contract that could be worth as much as $8 million. Although Lin’s stint with the Lakers was short-lived, the NBA journeyman has still found a way to succeed in this league. If Jianlian can follow in Lin’s footsteps, the 28-year-old may be able to secure a long-term future in NBA.