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Reporter confirms Yi Jianlian did indeed work out against chair

REUTERS/Steve Dipaola / Action Images

The legendary story of Yi Jianlian working out against a chair is true, at least to some extent.

As the tale goes, Yi showcased his immense skills against a folding chair in a pre-draft workout in spring 2007. League executives apparently gathered to watch the 7-foot prospect from China put a hurting on a piece of furniture before the Milwaukee Bucks ultimately selected him sixth overall in June.

Unfortunately, no videos of Yi's infamous workout have ever been found. Full-scale investigations have been launched, but have ultimately come back empty.

But one reporter was there to see it live.

Chris Mannix of The Vertical confirmed that Yi did indeed run drills around a chair. Mannix explained that it didn't quite make sense for Yi to work out against collegiate players who were more advanced in their development, so he conducted a solo workout that involved a folding chair.

However, contrary to the story that circulated later, Mannix said he didn't see Yi try any post moves or dribble around the chair as if it were an actual human defending him. It was merely a prop that served as a screener in a shooting drill, according to Mannix.

Nevertheless, the story of Yi and the chair took on a life of its own and ultimately became the punch line to jokes about his disappointing career. He only averaged 7.9 points per game on 40.4 percent shooting in five seasons before returning to China.

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