CBA legend Lester Hudson reflects on successful stint with Liaoning
When the Chinese Basketball Association finals get underway on Friday, the defending champions will be spectators. But Liaoning are determined to return to the top again, and one man who has been integral to the Flying Leopards success over the last five years is the MVP of last season's title series, Lester Hudson, who discussed his stellar career with CGTN Sports Scene's Damion Jones in this season's third episode of CBA Stories.
"We came with the mindset that we won't lose that season. Brandon Bass was a good addition to the team. We did our best," Hudson said about the success of the Liaoning team.
While reflecting on his stint with the team, he mentioned, "Before I came here I didn't know how good these guys were. But when I came here, it was a perfect fit for me, and I thought I could do something really great with this team with my hard work, determination and the will to win."
Hudson's basketball arc in China started with immediate success – followed by the agonizing frustration of three straight losses in the CBA Finals – before last season's long-awaited return to the top.
"We just got back to the gym, practiced hard and gradually got better and better before we came up with the win last season and then the championship."
"We didn't think about winning. We just thought about going and play. We aimed to play together, stay focused and live to the coach's game plan and we won 25 games in a row. It was great for Liaoning fans."
Hudson holds the league records for three-pointers in a career with 1,666, and season with 252 – while also playing the most minutes over the past nine years –more than 14,000. And in January the two-time International MVP, who currently ranks third on the all-time scoring chart, became the first import to reach 10,000 points in China.
"I didn't imagine. I just wanted to come out and play hard and fight for my team. I was thinking only about scoring for my team and help my team to win. I have been doing this for years after years. Finally, I have scored 10000 points. My team, my management told me about that a month before I did that. They told me that I am getting close. My teammates and the coaching staff were happy for me. It was good."
The 34-year-old Hudson joined the squad after stints at Guangdong, Qingdao, Dongguan, and Xinjiang.
"Winning the championship with Guangdong raised my bar," he said, adding, "I came here with the mindset of being the best player for my team and also in the league."