SI.com: In 1979, the Los Angeles Lakers shocked no one when they selected Earvin “Magic” Johnson with the first pick in the NBA Draft. Twenty eight years later, the Lakers picked Magic again — only this time they waited until the second round to acquire China’s version, raising more than a few eyebrows in the process.
Sun Yue, affectionately known as the “Chinese Magic Johnson,” does not come to the NBA with the same hype as Johnson — at least not Stateside. There is no NCAA championship on Sun’s résumé, and his personality will never be compared to the charismatic Johnson’s. In fact, in many ways Sun is more Tony Parker than Johnson, as his girlfriend is one of China’s top models. But whenever you have a point guard who looks like a power forward, the comparisons to Johnson are inevitable. Just ask Penny Hardaway.
“I have a different style [than Johnson],” Sun said. “Yes, I’m like him because I pass more than score. Maybe I play kind of like him, but he was a superstar.”
What the 22-year-old Sun does bring is a pretty impressive skill set. Sun, along with countryman Yi Jianlian, is part of a new generation of Chinese basketball players, a flashy ball handler and aggressive dunker who at 6-9 towers over opponents at the point-guard position much the same way Johnson did two decades ago.