Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kyle Anderson will represent China at this year’s FIBA World Cup.
About his announcement: The 29-year-old athlete, also known by his Chinese name Li Kaier, broke the news in
a Weibo post on Monday. He announced to his Chinese fans that he is “really proud and honored to wear the Team China jersey” at the FIBA World Cup, which kicks off on Aug. 25.
Anderson is reportedly the first basketball player to obtain Chinese nationality through naturalization. He is also the latest elite athlete to do so, with Eileen Gu being one of the other most recent ones.
Anderson is eligible to play for China as a naturalized citizen as his maternal great-grandfather, Samuel Lee Hin, was Chinese.
Visiting the family: The former Memphis Grizzlies forward, along with his mother, Suzanne, visited their family in Shenzhen in the Chinese province of Guangdong in late 2018.
Anderson’s mother reportedly found out more about her family through AncestryDNA after a man named Ian Lee contacted her and told her that his father’s grandfather, Tom Lee, was Samuel’s brother.
The road ahead: Anderson is set to fly to Europe and meet his Serbian coach, Aleksandar Djordjevic, and his Chinese teammates, who are playing warm-up games against European teams such as Slovenia and Croatia, to prepare for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
Anderson will be making his Chinese national team debut at the two-day FIBA Solidarity Cup warm-up tournament in Shenzhen on Aug. 20. Five teams will be participating in the event: Brazil, Italy, New Zealand, Serbia and China.
China will first face Serbia at the FIBA World Cup on Aug. 26 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines.