MILWAUKEE (AP) - Yi Jianlian (EE JEE'-ahn-LEE'-ahn) is ready to start his NBA career. The sixth overall selection in this year's draft signed a standard rookie scale contract with the Milwaukee Bucks today in Hong Kong.
A contingent of Bucks officials that included owner and Senator Herb Kohl met with Yi's family and the owner of Yi's Chinese professional team to finalize the deal.
The Bucks can't say when the 6-foot-11 power forward will be in the United States, but Kohl expects him to be in Milwaukee at the start of training camp on October 1st, or shortly thereafter.
With the Olympics in Beijing next summer, Chinese officials wanted assurances that Yi would get significant playing time against the NBA's best players in an effort to sharpen his skills for those games.
Yi's agent had pushed for his client to be drafted by, or traded to, a city with a large Asian influence.
According to Census data, there are only about 27,500 people of Asian descent living in Milwaukee -- a city more famous for beers and bratwurst than cultural diversity.