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Yi shares attention with Yao for glory
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Many sport events will pile up Olympic medals for the host nation, but men's basketball tickets are one of the most wanted at the Games.

It is because NBA stars Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian are the most popular sport stars in China.

Yao Ming

Nobody thought about Yi one year ago when Wang Zhizhi, former Best Center of Asia, came back to the national team after six-year absence.

With nearly three weeks to go to the kick-off of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, fans begin to talk about the line-up of Yao and Yi inside the paint and Wang is very likely a backup for the big men.

The basketball competitions of the Beijing Olympics are the most important games for the Chinese men's national team as the fans have huge expectations of the home team.

After six years with the Houston Rockets, Yao has become the richest Chinese sports celebrity and a symbol of the Chinese who has great success in the western nations.

Yi was selected sixth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, and as being expected, he set off another wave on the NBA global market.

He was traded to the New Jersey Nets with BobbySimons for Richard Jefferson on June 27. Most people think the trade is a sign of exploration of the basketball market among Chinese Americans in New York.

Besides his marketing potential, Yi proved he deserves a starting position in the national team with his eye-catching performances in his rookie year in the NBA.

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