Our Raymond has translated an interview from Titan Sports of Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian before tonight’s big game in Houston between the two Chinese countrymen.
In the photo below, Yao is seen picking up Yi on Thursday night at the Houston Four Seasons to go to dinner.
The interview questions were asked separately of both players, and they meshed the responses into one article.
I don’t know about you, but through Yi’s responses, he doesn’t have near the personality that Yao does. He’s kind of a dud in how he answers the questions. That’s not good in building his persona here in the U.S. Here’s the translation:
Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian have never donned different jerseys and confronted each other in any regular basketball competition. But now the time has come for that to materialize. November 10, 2007. Houston Rockets versus Milwaukee Bucks. Those experiences of playing against each other in team scrimmages of the national team suddenly become meaningless, because this is going to be a NBA regular season game, a genuine match-up. So right before the clash of the titans, Titan Sports conducted the following interview by asking the same questions to the 2 of them (at different locations).
TITAN: What do you most want to say to him when you meet him on the court?
Yao Ming: Watch out for Uncle Mutombo’s elbow. HA HA HA…..
Yi Jianlian: (After pondering for a long while) Long time no see.
TITAN: Will you introduce or explain his technical characteristics, strengths and weaknesses to the coaching staff?
Yao Ming: I don’t think it needs me to do that. We have already started to prepare for this game. Right before the team traveled to Dallas, I went to the video editing room to fetch a video of Dallas Mavericks for my study. There I saw our coaches already studying the video of Milwaukee Bucks. I then asked them to cut and send me an edited play video of Ah Lian, and they had sent me his tape. Those couple of mid-range jumpers were just beautiful and awesome.
Yi Jianlian: Our coaching staff does not need my introduction (of Yao Ming’s game). They understood his game much more than they understood my game.
TITAN: Please predict his stats (point scored and rebounds) for this game.
Yao Ming: Well, maybe more than 10 points and about 5 rebounds.
Yi Jianlian: Must be more (points scored and rebounds) than me.
TITAN: You have been training together in the national team for a long time. What do you think is the most difficult part of his game for you to defend?
Yao Ming: I think Ah Lian is most difficult to guard when he does his fadeaway jumpers. It is a weapon that he excels in. It is his fadeaway jumpers that impressed me most when we were training together in the national team. I still remembered back in 2004, I told Ah Lian, with his athleticism, his jumping ability, no one can block or stop him when he released those turn-around fade-away jumpers. Now when you look at what he is doing, they are really awesome.
Yi Jianlian: I’m very happy, because I’m not the one assigned and responsible to defend on Yao Ming.
TITAN: If he manages to dunk a facial on you, will you feel loss of face?
Yao Ming: If such situation does occur, I will foul him hard and pull him down. Well, as far as Ah Lian is concerned, as a rookie, he is now in a there-is-nothing-to-lose situation. He will gain if he manages to dunk on the head of a star, even if he will get dunked on 5 times on the other end of the court.
Yi Jianlian: I will be too busy thinking about losing my face when playing in the game.
TITAN: Who will become the victor in this game?
Yao Ming: I think we should win, as long as we don’t melt down again. If we do not take this game too lightly and do not relax, we should win easily. After all, we are one of the Texas Triangles.
Yi Jianlian: The victor of this game will be the team that can score more.
TITAN: Will your head coach allow you to score 3-pointers?
Yao Ming: At the start of the new season, the head coach said he would allow me to shoot from beyond the arc. But so far, I’m still not steadfast and comfortable in doing so. I had practiced my 3-pointers during team practices, but I just don’t feel confident. Let’s revisit that topic again when I start to make more of my long-range and mid-range jumpers.
Yi Jianlian: Of course. Why do you need to ask?
TITAN: Right before the game, will you eat dinner together? What is your team’s current arrangement?
Yi Jianlian: Of course we will. Our team will meet for our last team practice during noon time on Thursday, and we will depart for Houston around 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
TITAN: After your arrival into USA, what had been your most painful experience?
Yao Ming: Definitely it was my debut game (in my rookie season). After I was sent onto court, I was totally dazzled and confused. Except for running aimlessly up and down the court from one end to the other end together with the team, I simply did not know what I was doing. Ah Lian fared much better than I in his debut. I guessed he must have a good night sleep after his debut. As for me, after my debut, I was feeling so uncomfortable and depressed that I just wanted to go home (i.e. back to China).
Yi Jianlian: (Continuous) training and playing.
TITAN: So as a rookie, did you get tricked and bullied by your teammates, e.g. like running errands or carrying bags for the team’s veterans?
Yao Ming: When I noticed how the rookies were dispatched this season, I just thought I was really fortunate and lucky when I was a rookie. Lao Da (Steve Francis) was really treating me very nice. He did not allow me to do anything except maybe carrying his clothes for him, and really I needed not do anything. Well, I remembered that during my first year, when the Rockets traveled for away games, Bostjan Nachbar and I were asked to help preparing and distributing bags with training kit and jerseys for teammates for our morning shootout practices. And nothing else, really. Possibly because I was the #1 draft pick. Or maybe I’m a Chinese, and therefore they were giving me a break, as they did not want to create some international disputes. After all, did they say we have the support of 1.3 billion people?
Yi Jianlian: These all do not matter much.
TITAN: What do you think are the major commonalities between you two? What are the major differences?
Yao Ming: I thought I and Ah Lian have nothing in common. We have different body types. Our games are totally different. There is a difference in our age and the way and things we think. After all, we have this gap in our age and we were brought up under different environment, and in particular, his body conditions are that much better than me. Our road and growth in basketball is completely different.
Yi Jianlian: Commonality? We are both Chinese; Differences? Mmmmmm….our height and our names.
TITAN: Now when you look back to your rookie season, how do you feel?
Yao Ming: Now looking back, even though there was this question of adaptation (to NBA, to US culture, to environment etc.) in my rookie season, nevertheless my rookie season was the happiest seasons for me so far. At that time, regardless how great or bad the team played, it seemed it had nothing for me to worry about. So long I scored in double digits, then I would be very happy. It was a time when there was nothing for me to lose. Definitely the present is totally different from my rookie year. There are now a lot more to think about and much more responsibility on my shoulder.
TITAN: So what kind of a Yi Jianlian (Yao Ming) you hope to see in next year’s Beijing Olympics?
Yao Ming: If Ah Lian can grow and develop rapidly (in NBA), definitely it will be a good thing for the national team in next year’s Olympics. The quicker his growth and development is, the lesser the load and responsibility will be on my shoulder. Ah Lian can also play on Position 5 (center), and that will give me some time for my breathers and rests. As far as the national team is concerned, this definitely will be good news.
Yi Jianlian: I have not yet thought about next year’s Beijing Olympics.
TITAN: Do you still follow and pay attention to CBA? Do you surf the Internet for news in CBA?
Yao Ming: I still do. Yesterday I was reading over Internet news about the match-up of Mengke Bateer and Tang Zhengdong. But now, all my energy and focus are on my own competition. We are a new team and we have to face a lot of questions/problems about our adaptation. So now it is only when I am taking my rest (or in my leisure time) that I could find time to follow news and development in CBA.
Yi Jianlian: Of course, I do.
TITAN: So in all your past experiences of the Chinese Derbies, which left the deepest impression in you?
Yao Ming: It had to be my first encounter with Da Zhi (Wang Zhizhi) in Los Angeles. Aat that time, it had been a long, long time that I had not seen Da Zhi. You all knew, Da Zhi was my idol and the one I looked up to and set as my target to surpass (when I was in CBA). And at that time, I was yearning almost on a daily basis for his return to the national team. At that time, I already earned the starting center position with the Rockets, and Da Zhi was with LA Clippers. In that game, they designated Da Zhi to guard me. I was feeling ambiguous and confused when I played against Da Zhi. I remembered I only managed to score 4 points in that game.
TITAN: So how many such match-up games you had played against Da Zhi?
Yao Ming: Two. I only met him twice face-to-face on the court in NBA. My team had played against his team for many times. But very often, we were not playing on the court at the same time. I still remembered at one particular game, when I was sent onto court, he was sent off for his breathers/rest. And when he was sent back to court, I had to take my rest/breather. It was kind of strange feeling to me. We were so close (with each other in NBA) yet we were so far away (from each other). ????