Former National Basketball Association All-Star Tracy McGrady broke the hearts of Chinese fans when he announced yesterday he would not play in the Chinese Basketball Association All-Star game.
The 33-year-old said he won't be around next Sunday as he "will be flying home (to the United States) to spend time with his grandmother" who is ailing.
McGrady topped the voting for the CBA all-stars in his debut season despite his Qingdao Eagles finishing last in the 17-team league in the regular season that ended on Sunday.
"From the first to the last game, my fans have made my journey the best experience any athlete can imagine," McGrady said in an open letter to the fans yesterday.
But T-Mac said that he needs to be with his grandmother, the most influential person in his life, right now and hoped his fans would understand.
The former Houston Rockets star left the door open on whether he would play in China next season. "From my heart, I thank you for all your love and hope to see you all again soon."
Fans soon took to the Internet, expressing their sadness and support. "We are waiting for you to come back," was a common refrain.
McGrady averaged 25 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists during his 29 CBA games this season.
The absence of McGrady leaves Stephon Marbury of the defending champions Beijing Ducks as the star attraction at the All-Star gala.
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