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Mavericks Sign Wang for Two Years

April 4, 2001

DALLAS (AP) _ Wang Zhizhi signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, making him the first Chinese player in NBA history.

The 7-foot-1 Wang, a second-round pick in 1999, is expected to play sparingly the rest of this season for the Mavericks, who are fighting for playoff positioning.

``I’m very excited,″ Wang, 23, said through an interpreter. ``I also feel very calm because finally I can play in the NBA.″

Wang recently completed an All-Star season in China’s professional league, leading his team to its sixth straight championship.

Wang, who was presented with jersey No. 16, said his biggest adjustment was with how physical the NBA is. He termed it ``cruel.″

``Mentally, I have to be ready because the NBA is a very physical game,″ he said.

Wang was to practice with the team for the first time Wednesday and could play as early as Thursday night at home against Atlanta.

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