After his NBA debut last October, Chinese basketball sensation Yi Jianlian is now on his way to building a successful career. And this summer, he has a great chance for glory when he'll be teaming up with Yao Ming and the other Chinese national team players to try for their best ever performance at an Olympic Games. In today's feature, we'll take a closer look at how Chinese basketball's new hope is preparing for the Olympics.
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, a young - and nervous - Yi Jianlian failed to live up to expectations in his first Olympic showdown.
But on December 23rd 2007, he displayed a maturity beyond his years to put in a stellar performance.
From loser four years ago, to one of the hottest rookies in the NBA star, the Chinese basketball sensation gave the perfect Christmas gift to the Milwaukee Bucks and himself.
Yi capped his first double-double in the NBA with a career high of 29 points and 10 rebounds in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats.
The 20-year-old has been making strides in his first season, developing quicker than many anticipated.
Doubts were cast about the suitable of Milwaukee as Yi's new hometown. But he's put setbacks from pre-season games behind him and worked hard to improve his game.
From 19 points against Yao Ming and the Rockets, to 22 against the Timberwolves, and now 29 against the Bobcats...
Yi Jianlian is building up his skills, his confidence and his reputation step by step.
But success doesn't happen on its own.
When he's not flying all around the United States to represent the Bucks, Yi spends much of his time working in the gym and training on the court.
But Yi's hard work is paying off.
His confidence has improved, thanks to the belief of his teammates.
Yi Jianlian said "Sometimes we train up to 12 hours a day and there are few breaks. I feel extremely tired but I have to carry on."
And he's also created a passionate fanbase, not just because of his skills but because of his looks and personality.
And he's shown a commitment to his new community with a visit to see some cancer-suffering kids.
The NBA has helped him step his game up to another level, and Yi now feels ready for the challenge of the Olympics.
Yi Jianlian said "I think the NBA is the No. 1 basketball league in terms of speed, competition and confrontation. And my opportunities to play in actual games have been more than I expected."
With a huge backing from both teammates and fans, Yi Jianlian is now working even harder to prepare for the Olympics.
He knows he has a great deal of work to do by August. And it's time to shake off the bad memories from four years ago.
Yi Jianlian said "I think we better not repeat the mistakes made by our past teams. We should rely on our present performance and do our best to achieve greater things. We must work together to realize our dreams and goals. "
Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi are the three key players in China's starting lineup. They're all hopeful and confident that they can pull off something special at the Olympics.
But with some fearsome international competition, Yi and his teammates will need to be at their very best just to get any medal, let alone the gold. But you can be sure that the whole of China will be watching their every move as they begin their challenge this summer.