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May 28, 2017

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Tracy McGrady confirms that he will play for Qingdao

BEIJING -- U.S. basketball star Tracy McGrady has confirmed he will play in China, becoming the latest foreign player to seek a career boost in the Asian nation near the sunset of his career.

"There are times in life that a new road presents itself and it appears this time has come for me now," McGrady said on his official website.

"As I enter this next chapter, I am excited to play for Qingdao Eagles in China," he said in an entry posted on Tuesday.

The Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles said this week the team was awaiting the signature of the seven-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star on a contract, and expected to make an announcement soon.

Team officials in China's eastern city of Qingdao could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday.

Qingdao finished eighth last season in the 17-team Chinese Basketball Association. The season is due to start in November.

McGrady is familiar to Chinese fans through his years playing alongside the now-retired Yao Ming — one of China's most popular athletes — with the Houston Rockets.

"I have been to China several times in the last few years and I love the people and the country. It will be an honor to play for them," he said in the post.

McGrady, 33, said he was proud of his accomplishments in his 15-year NBA career alongside the "best players in the world." He played for several teams after entering the league at 18, including six seasons with the Rockets.

"I have experienced the best moments a player can experience and have had some dark ones too," he said.

The 2.03-meter (6-foot, 8-inch) forward signed with the Atlanta Hawks as a free agent last year but apparently failed to reach a deal with a NBA team for the upcoming season.

McGrady is the latest of several NBA players who have sought to revive their flagging careers in China.

Former NBA superstar Stephon Marbury led the Beijing Ducks to their first-ever Chinese championship last season.

Marbury, a two-time NBA All-Star, has reinvented himself since arriving in China in 2009 following a tumultuous 13-year NBA career that saw talent on the court but often boorish behavior off it.

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