Reports: Nike-Sponsored Chinese Basketball Star Is Coming to the NBA

Zhou Qi and Kevin Durant
Zhou Qi and Kevin Durant
Jose Sanchez/AP/Rex Shutterstock

Former Chinese Basketball Association standout Zhou Qi is reportedly on his way to the NBA to play for the Houston Rockets.

ESPN reported Saturday that Zhou agreed to a multiyear deal with the team. At the time of the report, the final deal was still in the process of being hashed out, but the 7-foot-2 21-year-old’s arrival has been in the making for quite some time.

Zhou was drafted 43rd overall by the Rockets in the 2016 NBA Draft. He’s spent the majority of his professional playing career in the CBA with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers. In April, Zhou led the Flying Tigers to a 4-0 sweep of the Guangdong Southern Tigers to win the 2017 CBA Finals Championship.

In November, Zhou made headlines after denouncing the CBA’s sneaker policy, which forced players to wear shoes from league sponsor Li-Ning.

“Today I was told during the game, if I don’t wear the sponsor’s shoes, I’ll be given a technical foul and banned. Why was I deprived the right to wear my shoes?” Zhou, who is a Nike-sponsored athlete, wrote on social media at the time.

Zhou is expected to begin play with the Rockets during the 2017-18 NBA season.

2015-2016 CBA Playoffs Zhou Qi of Xinjiang Guanghui dunks against Sichuan Jinqiang during their first semifinal match of the 2015-16 CBA Playoffs. AP Images

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