Han Xu
(Photo: Rachel Parrish, NBA)

The New York Liberty rookie took to social media to reveal which side she’ll represent when her Chinese comrades visit Brooklyn on Thursday.

Geoff Magliocchetti

Han Xu’s past and future collide next week in Brooklyn. On Thursday, she announced where she’ll be in the present.

The New York Liberty’s Brooklyn era will open next week, as they take on the Chinese national team on May 9 at Barclays Center (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNEWS). One of the biggest talking points of the exhibition was the status of Han. The Hebei native appeared on the Liberty’s social media accounts to confirm she would don blue for the exhibition.

The visual reveal features Han traveling to several New York basketball landmarks. Her journey appropriately ends at Barclays Center. The Liberty will play two games at the arena on Atlantic Avenue this season. It’s their first year under the ownership of Joseph Tsai, the minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center’s primary tenant.

On-screen text documents Han’s journey to the league. She is the first WNBA player of Chinese descent to be drafted since Zheng Haixia was chosen by Los Angeles in 1997.

Ever since she was chosen by the Liberty in the second round of last month’s WNBA Draft, debate reigned over which side she’d represent. She made her name as one of the most dominant names in Chinese basketball over the past few years. The national squad called upon her services during the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup. She led the team with 6.1 rebounds per game in the tournament.

Han, 19, was in Midtown Manhattan to hear the Liberty call her name as the 14th overall pick. Speculation has hovered that Han will finish the 2019 season in China. But Tsai remains confident she’ll make the New York transition, especially with the impact it will leave on women’s basketball both locally and abroad.

“Han Xu’s joining is like Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian,” Tsai told the South China Morning Post. “It will definitely play a positive role in Chinese basketball and will become a role model for young people, encouraging them to work hard to realize their dreams.”

“I don’t quite agree with finding players just for the Chinese market. It is the most important thing to play well.”

Han is one of 20 players to appear on the Liberty’s training camp roster. The team is set to practice at St Joseph’s College in Brooklyn from May 5-23.

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