SPORTS China's ace Li Meng joins WNBA's Washington Mystics on training camp contract


China's ace Li Meng joins WNBA's Washington Mystics on training camp contract


19:22, March 14, 2023

Li Meng of China looks on in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup qualifier game against Nigeria in Belgrade, Serbia, February 10, 2022. (Photos: CFP)

The WNBA's Washington Mystics have signed a training camp contract with Chinese star player Li Meng, the team announced on Monday.

"I will put on the jersey of the Washington Mystics this summer and play in the WNBA," Li posted on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo. "I want to bring more attention from China and Asia to the WNBA, refine and improve myself in the new league. I want to thank the Mystics for their recognition and invitation, especially for the efforts of their general manager, head coach and assistant general manager."

Li Meng (L) of the Sichuan Yuanda Merlot penetrates in Game 3 of the WCBA Finals against the Inner Mongolia Rural Credit Union in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, March 12, 2023.

Li also revealed that she signed with a new agency company, Klutch Sports Group, which was founded by famous NBA agent Rich Paul. NBA legend LeBron James is represented by this company as well. Li, who is well-known for her penetration and aggressive charging of the rim on the court, has been nicknamed "LeBron Meng" by Chinese fans.

Li averaged 16.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Chinese national team in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Australia last year, making integral contributions for the team to go all the way to the tournament's final. She also helped the Sichuan Yuanda Merlot win their first WCBA championship in franchise history during the Finals last week.

Li Meng (R) of China makes a fake move in the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup quarterfinals against France at Sydney Super Dome in Sydney, Australia, September 29, 2022.

"Li Meng is the premier scorer for the Chinese national team – an outstanding perimeter player who has the ability to stretch the floor with her excellent 3-point shooting," the Mystics' general manager Mike Thibault said in a statement. "She reads the game and uses screens well and knows how to play off of her teammates. She adds more size, strength and toughness to our guard group. Our players will enjoy playing with her."

Li will become the third Chinese player in the WNBA for the 2023 season. Her national team teammates Han Xu and Yang Liwei have joined the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks, respectively.

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