Former No. 3 Overall NBA Pick Signs To Play in China

 He was the runner-up for the NBA Rookie of the Year after being the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 Draft, averaging 18.5 points for the Memphis Grizzlies in his freshman season. But his career hit the wall due to drug problems, and OJ Mayo was out of the NBA by 2016 and hasn't been seen since. 

Now 36, the former lottery pick has signed to continue his basketball career by returning to China, after spending the last several seasons playing in Puerto Rico, China, Taiwan, Russia and Egypt. 

Trouble seemed to follow Mayo even from his high school and college days. Then in the NBA, He was suspended for 10 games for the first time in 2011 for PED use, then after another drug offense he was banned in 2016, "dismissed and disqualified" from the NBA, and only eligible to apply for reinstatement after two years. But he largely disappeared, and no one seemed to have any information on where he was. He never got a call from any NBA teams ever again.

Since leaving the Association, Mayo has made a strong career for himself overseas. This will be his second stop with Liaoning in China, for whom he also played in 2021-22.

In eight NBA seasons, he had career averages of 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists. In addition to the Grizzlies, he also played for the Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks.

Photo: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports