Big Al Flying High With Xinjiang
Al Jefferson and his new team are already preparing for competition.
As announced earlier this summer, Big Al will continue his basketball career overseas in China. The veteran big man recently signed his official contract with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, and they’re wasting little time getting him into game action.
Al will make his debut as a Flying Tiger on September 19 in Macau, China when Xinjiang faces the Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings in their first game of The Terrific 12 tournament.
Al will look to develop some chemistry early on with his new lead guard, Decatur native Darius Adams, who is an experienced player overseas after a collegiate career at Lincoln College and Division II University of Indianapolis.
Adams has been playing overseas since 2012 and was a member of the Flying Tigers’ CBA championship team in 2017. Adams was the MVP during the CBA Finals and was a big reason why the Flying Tigers were able to sweep the Guangdong Southern Tigers to capture their first ever CBA title.
Big Al is looking to fill a void left by Andray Blatche on the Flying Tigers as a veteran big man, and Al will be joined on court by 22-year-old forward Abudushalamu Abudurexiti, who was a part of China’s gold medal team in the most recent Asian Games.
Al entered the NBA straight out of high school in 2004 and averaged 15 points during his 14-year career with the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets, and Indiana Pacers. But now, Jefferson will be looking to assert himself in a new league with some new teammates.
The 33-year-old big man still has plenty left in the tank, and he will be joined at the Terrific 12 by another former NBA big man, Marreese Speights, who played 10 seasons in the NBA and won an NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2015.
Speights will suit up for the Guangzhou Long Lions in the tournament after signing with the team in July, and he could provide a quality matchup for Jefferson at some point during the tournament.
After last season in more of a mentor role with the Pacers, Jefferson is ready to show the CBA that he has plenty of basketball left in his career, and it starts at the Terrific 12 on September 20.