Inquirer: Los Angeles-bound guard Sun Yue has said he does not want to be known as “China’s Magic Johnson” as he seeks a spot on the Lakers’ roster, but is happy to be known as the “Monkey King.”
Sun is expected to depart for the Lakers’ training camp as soon as the US Embassy here issues his visa, and he is confident that he can make a roster that is led by superstars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
“I don’t want to be called the next Magic Johnson,” Sun told the China Daily of the nickname given him to by the Chinese sporting press.
“He was a great player, and he has everything you could ask for in a coach but I don’t think I am going to pattern my game after him in my rookie year,” he said of the legendary player and Lakers part-owner.
The 23-year-old Sun was signed by Los Angeles to a multi-year contract after he helped China to an eighth place finish at the Beijing Olympics, averaging 6.8 points and 2.5 assists a game.
The six-foot-eight inch (2.06 meter) guard was originally selected by the Lakers in the second round of the 2007 NBA draft, but was not given a contract or an invitation to training camp last year.
Already Chinese fans in Los Angeles are calling him “Sun Wukong,” after the mythical “Monkey King,” the legendary simian hero of the Chinese Buddhist literary classic “Journey to the West.”
“If they want to name me after the fighting Buddhist master then I guess that will make me a bit more literary,” Sun told journalists.
“For the fans to already have these kinds of plans [to name me Monkey King] is really great support for me.”