China's NBA pioneer swallows his pride and makes apologetic return to Beijing China's first NBA star, a soldier who was expelled from the national team for refusing to come home from the United States to play for his country, has made an apologetic return to Beijing - a move that should open the way for him to play in the 2008 Olympics. Wang Zhizhi, who paved the way for Chinese NBA players Yao Ming and Menke Bateer to play in the US, was welcomed home at Beijing's airport by the Chinese Basketball Association, four years after he was accused of being a traitor and 'defecting' for refusing to return home to play in the Asian Games. The 28-year-old former army official and star of Bayi Rockets military team made a humble apology at the airport. 'In the past I was not mature enough and I made some wrong decisions. Through all the years of painful reflection I have a deep recognition of all the mistakes I have made in the past. I want to apologise to all the Chinese people and I hope I can correct my mistakes through action,' he said. 'I want to say sorry to my fans and to the Bayi team which trained me and gave me the chance to play in the NBA. And I want to thank the Bayi team and the CBA for offering me the chance to return. Now I want to train hard and prove myself on the basketball court.' The 2.12-metre centre - who has played for the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat - said he was delighted that he was finally able to come back to China. His return comes after months of heated negotiations behind the scenes with CBA and military officials. They said they wanted him back in the fold but also wanted to ensure he first expressed enough remorse publicly for putting his personal wishes in front of national team demands. Wang was greeted in the capital airport by hundreds of journalists and the CBA's vice-director Hu Jiashi, who said he had emphasised two points to the nation's basketball bad boy. 'The first is to admit your mistakes, and the second is to show your feelings through your actions,' Hu said. 'The kid has shown a good attitude in admitting his mistake. It is a crucial move for him to return in an answer to the motherland's call.' He said before Wang could be fully rehabilitated he would have to write a full report of his actions and future desires to the heads of his former club, the Bayi Rockets. Wang's parents, who haven't seen their son for four years, said they were only informed of his return on Sunday.