Wang Zhizhi is a professional basketball player formerly in the American National Basketball Association.
Wang was the first person from mainland China to play in the NBA, (though Ma Jian was on a preseason NBA roster in 1995). Wang was previously a star of the Chinese national team and played for the Bayi Rockets of the Chinese Basketball Association. The trio of Wang Zhizhi (7'1"), Yao Ming (7'6"), and Mengke Bateer (6'11") was known as the "Walking Great Wall" of the Chinese national basketball team. All three have also played in the NBA.
Wang was dismissed from the national team for failing to return to China to practice. He was signed by the Dallas Mavericks in 2001, and later played for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat. An athletic and tall player at 7'1" (216 cm), Wang was primarily known in the NBA as a long-range shooter. However, he was previously crowned the slam dunk champion one year in China's CBA league. His minutes were very limited in the NBA, never more than 10.9 a game, and he became a free agent at the end of the 2005 season. In late 2005, Wang was not playing professional basketball in the NBA or China. He averaged 4.4 points and 9.9 minutes per game over 5 seasons in the NBA.
On April 10, 2006, following weeks of rumors in Chinese media, Wang returned home from the United States after being expelled from the national team for four years. He publicly apologized for his past mistakes, and said he wanted to represent the country to play in the World Tournament later in 2006 as well as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. It is unknown if he will rejoin his former Bayi team; Bayi's current young center Mo Ke's outstanding performance may be an obstacle.
On April 30, 2006, Wang rejoined the national basketball team.