Thursday , Oct , 04 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Milwaukee Buck Yi Jianlian Will Learn In NBA Age Isn’t Just A Number

I’m guessing Yi, Milwaukee’s controversial forward, doesn’t like questions about his age. Of course, he’s getting grilled by reporters instead of a foxy lady. And the media hounds think he’s 22 years old instead of his listed age of 19 …

The Associated Press reports on Yi’s first media scrum at Milwaukee’s training camp:

Yi Jianlian finally arrived. His shroud of secrecy continues.

Yi, Milwaukee’s top draft pick, joined his new team for his first practice Thursday, but again dodged the question that’s hounded him since announcing he was coming to the NBA.

Yi’s birth certificate lists him as being born Oct. 27, 1987, which would make him 19, but he’s long been rumored older.

"I have no comment on that," Yi said through translator Roy Lu.

My Quick Take: This year, I’m turning 30 years old. I’m okay with it. I look young for my age. For example, last month, at a friend’s wedding, a beautiful woman questioned my ‘old’ age and told me she thought I was 25. Yeah, I got her digits and that made my night.

I’m guessing Yi, Milwaukee’s controversial forward, doesn’t like questions about his age. Of course, he’s getting grilled by reporters instead of a foxy lady. And the media hounds think he’s 22 years old instead of his listed age of 19.

And they might be right. Today, Yi had "no comment" when directly asked his age by reporters. If the rookie was really 19 year old, he would have answered their question and ended the controversy. But he didn’t.

Now reporters will dig. After all, this is that Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes stuff we live for. Every dude with press credentials wants to be the one to break the story on Yi’s age.

Right now, the have to wonder if this foreign player is worth the trouble. Let’s forget about Yi’s summer holdout ending in an international incident between basketball fans. And let’s forget about Yi’s demands for playing time that he was likely to get anyway. Instead let’s pretend that Yi is actually 22 year old. This would surely change his draft ranking.

Yi, if he’s 19, has potential. But Yi, if he’s 22, is underdeveloped and not nearly as attractive a prospect. I call it the Hoffa Araujo syndrome. Three years ago, Toronto liked the Brazilian’s potential and took him in the lottery ahead of Andre Igoudala. But the Raptors quickly figured out that Araujo had potential for a teenager, not a 23 year old man. 

Yi will learn something the hard way-with the NBA age is more than just a number.

How old is Yi? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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