Career: Guangdong (China-CBA, 2001-07), Milwaukee Bucks (NBA, 2007-08)
Just one day after his birthday on October 27, 2000, a 13-year-old Yi who was already 2.02m tall was picked by Guangdong Hongyuan Club and became a professional basketball player of their youth team. Not long after, Yi made it to the Chinese National Youth Team. At 15, Yi had already graduated to the Guangdong senior side and was playing in the CBA. Yi led Guangdong to three CBA championships in five seasons. In 2006, Yi averaged 6.2 points and 5.7 rebounds as China reached the last 16 of the FIBA World Championship. Less than a year later, on June 29, 2007, he was picked by Milwaukee Bucks with the sixth pick in the NBA draft and became the fourth Chinese player to reach the league.
Yi, after just one season, was this summer traded to the New Jersey Nets.