Chinese in Wisconsin
Yi Jianlian of the Milwaukee Bucks
Over the past year Yi Jianlian was among Milwaukee’s most visible Chinese. At over seven feet tall, he was hard to miss.
Born in He Shan, Guangdong, China, Yi received his Bachelor’s Degree in business management from Guangdong University of Technology in 2007. The only child of professional athletes, Yi was destined for a career in sport.
He displayed talent in basketball at an early age, and soon began playing professionally. In five years with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, Yi’s team won three CBA championships.
Yi was drafted number six overall by the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association on June 28, 2007.
Originally reluctant to join the team because of its smaller market size, a personal appeal from Bucks owner, Senator Herb Kohl, convinced Yi of the benefits of Milwaukee.
Yi is fluent in both Mandarin and his native Cantonese, but has also become quite fluent in English, though he often still uses an interpreter.
During the season, Yi lived in an apartment in St. Francis, Wisconsin, near the Bucks training facility.
He was said to enjoy the location so close to Lake Michigan as it reminds him of the South China Sea back home.
Even with the trade of Yi in June of 2008, his presence is still felt in the Milwaukee area and its positive impact on our relationship with China. We wish Yi the best as he continues his career away from Milwaukee, we know he will do well, but he will be missed.
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