Friday, July 06, 2007

Milwaukee and China

For those of you that follow the NBA you may be aware that the Milwaukee Bucks drafted Chinese phenom Yi Jianlian. Some have dubbed him the Chinese Dirk Nowitski. All I know is that he is 7 feet tall and in his workouts he played against a chair. That would be a foreboding sign that he is a stiff. Anyhow, prior to the draft, Mr. Jianlian's agents, wary of the possibility that the Bucks would draft him, refused to work out for the Bucks and went so far as to forbid the Bucks from attending one of Mr. Jianlian's workouts. Nevertheless the Bucks drafted him.

Yi Jianlian apparently wanted to go to a larger city for marketing reasons and to one with a large asian population for personal reasons. Both preferences are understandable but he had to have understood that he was guaranteed neither preference in entering the draft which is something of a random process. But what I don't understand is why one would turn his nose up at Milwaukee. Wisconsin is a lovely state. It is the state of beer, cheese, brats and the Packers. They have tremendous fans and people are friendly to the point that it can be a little scary for somebody like me from the East Coast. Frankly, I think Milwaukee would make Yi more marketable. It is the ultimate fish out of water story. But the other thing is though a small market team has less immediate media exposure, success can overcome that hurdle. Look at Lebron James, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning. I don't think Cleveland, Green Bay, or Indianapolis are regarded as major markets but the aforementioned players are icons.

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