Sports Outside the Beltway

Report questions age of New Jersey Nets’ Yi

A basketball twist to the sports question of 2008- What is the real age of a Chinese athlete?

NBA player Yi Jianlian is being investigated by a Chinese-language magazine which claims he is one of many of the country’s athletes guilty of lying about their age on official documents.

Yi, who plays for the New Jersey Nets, has long been reported in the Chinese media to be older than his records show. Earlier this month, China’s Sports Ministry reported that it found 36 players in China’s professional basketball league whose dates of birth may have been changed.

The December issue of the Chinese-language edition of Sports Illustrated said a reporter for the magazine found records from Yi’s middle-school registration in his hometown in southern China that said he was born in 1984.

His official basketball records say he was born in 1987. He is also listed by the Nets as being born Oct. 27, 1987.

A spokesman for the Chinese Basketball Association could not be reached Monday for comment.

Yi could be quizzed again about his age on Monday night when the Nets face the Houston Rockets and fellow Chinese star center Yao Ming in New Jersey.

The only people that would be cheated by Yi’s age being older would be the Nets. I know at least with baseball, a team won’t even look at a amateur prospect if they are past a certain age.

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