Jason Dixon, the American-born professional basketball player who joined Dongguan's Southern Tigers team in 1998, retired from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) at the end of the 2009 season. To honor his contributions to the CBA and his team-which include five CBA league championships-Dixon's number 15 jersey was retired this past December. To date, the only previous CBA player to have his jersey retired was Yao Ming.
"Getting my jersey retired was a huge surprise," Dixon told HERE. "I told the team I was going there to get my ring and just visit friends. They responded by telling me they would retire my jersey."
"It didn't hit me how much of an honor that was until my friends were telling me about how much I have given them and done for that team."
Jason Dixon's jersey was hoisted to the rafters of the Tiger's arena in a ceremony held on December 23, 2009. [Photo:Guangzhou Daily]
The jersey was hoisted to the rafters of the Tiger's arena in a ceremony held before their game on December 23. "During the ceremony everything happened so fast I couldn't really take it all in, but during the game I would look up and see the jersey hanging," Dixon said. "Love it!"
Dixon's contributions to the team helped them win a record three CBA championships in a row in 2004,'05 and '06, and two additional titles, in 2008 and 2009. "I still can't believe I was there and I actually helped them achieve so much," said Dixon. "I wish the team great success in the future and am so thankful God placed me there."
Retiring the jersey may not mean the end for Dixon and the Tigers, however: Dixon, who developed fluent Chinese while playing for the team, said he hopes to return to the Tigers in the future-as a coach.
(By Michael Sanderson)
Jason Dixon (R)