BEIJING, Aug. 8 -- Former NBA star Shawn Kemp has cancelled his trip to China to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) summer league due to a "family affair."
"He has something to deal with at home, though he really wants to join the team," agent Zhang Peizhong told China Daily yesterday.
The 40-year-old Kemp, known as "Reign Man," during his glory days in the late 1990s, was slated to be in China with a group of American basketball players to play an exhibition game against the CBA champions on Sunday evening.
The squad also includes Jay Williams, the NBA's second overall draft pick in 2002, and will be watched closely by CBA club officials, who potentially could draft the players for the upcoming season.
Kemp's absence places an immense focus on Williams, who Chinese fans mostly know as the player drafted by the Chicago Bulls just behind Chinese all-star center Yao Ming.
Williams played for the US national team in the 2002 FIBA World Championships and was a starter in the Bulls' lineup for most of the 2002-03 NBA season before a motorbike accident in 2003 brought an end to his playing days. That is, until now.
Although it would be very difficult for Williams to rejoin an NBA team, clubs from the less-competitive CBA are keen on him.
"That's exactly why the players are coming here, to seek a chance in the domestic league," said Zhang.
Joining Williams in the squad is Eddie Basden, a former NBA player who played 19 games for the Bulls in the 2005-06 season.
"I'm looking forward to playing in China, I will try my best," Basden said.
Basden said he is quick to adjust to a new culture and people with different backgrounds, having played in the Turkish basketball league.
"Some of my friends play in the CBA," Basden said. "They told me that if you play good basketball here, you will be taken care of. Then I have nothing to worry about."
(Source: China Daily)