No Net has had the long "season" Yi Jianlian has had in the past year. He has been in training or playing almost non-stop (other than two injury rehabs) since he joined the Bucks in October 2007.
He played in 18 games for Team China this summer--12 exhibitions plus six Olympic games--training with them from his return in early May through the end of the Olympics in late August. When he flew 20,000 miles round trip to New Jersey for his introductory press conference in July, he spent only four days away from training camp.
He's been rewarded, of course, becoming one of China's leading celebrities--and receiving endorsement deals from companies like Nike and Coca-Cola. But his production with the Nets has dropped off and after turning the slightest of corners in games against the Knicks and Heat, Yi again struggled vs. the Cavaliers Sunday.
It's hard to know how much of a toll the physical--and mental--stress of his schedule has affected him, but there's no doubt he's been busy.
April 4 – Yi shuts down for the season after spraining his knee in Milwaukee. Tells Chinese press that the NBA season, with twice as many games as the Chinese Basketball Association, has been a challenge. He has played in 66 out of 82 games.
April 18 – Yi completes first NBA season, leaves Milwaukee for China, where the rest of Team China has been practicing since March.
May 4 – Runs with Olympic torch in Hainan Province in south China.
May 6 – Participates in Torch Relay Celebration in Beijing.
June 13-25 - Pre-Olympic Friendly Series – Plays in five exhibition games in 12 days vs. Croatia, Czech Republic and Lithuanian teams after recuperating from sprained knee.
June 27 – Yi is photographed celebrating his trade to the Nets with his girlfriend at karaoke bar, causing a "media frenzy". State media expresses shock that Yi would break his Beijing Olympic Games training regime to attend night spots, and widely report that sports officials were about to punish the star player. They didn’t.
July 4-6 - Team China vs. Australian All-Stars, Ningpo, China. Yi plays in a two-game exhibition series against a team of all-Stars from the Australian National Basketball League.
July 6-10 – Yi Heads to New Jersey. Immediately after the tournament, he flies non-stop from Shanghai to JFK for Nets' press conference three days later. The day after the press conference, he has to return to Beijing to resume Olympic training.
July 17-21 - Stankovic Cup, Huangzhou, China. Yi plays three games in five days vs. Angola, Russia and Serbia.
July 23 - Visit from China President Hu. On its return to Beijing Olympic Training Site, Team China is greeted by China’s President Hu Jintao. He tells Yi and the rest of the Chinese team, "We Chinese people pay lots of attention to basketball and expect your superb performance in matches. I hope you can show your best at the Games," Yi later says this is the most pressure he’s ever experienced.
July 29-August 1 - FIBA Diamond Ball Tournament, Nanjing, China. Yi is part of the host nation’s team in this two-game tourney. China plays Australia and Iran.
August 10-24 - Olympics, Beijing, China. Yi plays six games vs. USA, Spain, Angola, Germany, Greece and Lithuania, is the Olympic's fourth leading rebounder.
September 8 – Workouts in New Jersey. Yi arrives in New Jersey two weeks after end of the Olympics. He tells Sina.com three weeks later, "I’ve been working out to try to regain my strength. I hope to do that before the competition. Right now I’m working on my whole body. I’ve also been busy looking for a place to live and settle in so I can focus on upping my game."
October 1 – Nets Training Camp Begins. Having suffered mild ankle sprain September 25, his training is limited for a week.