Yao Ming Mania! All about Chinese basketball star and NBA All-Star Yao Ming » Rockets training camp

'Rockets training camp' category archive

Media Day photos

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
by John

The new season is almost here! Monday was media day at the Rockets where a bevy of Rockets had their photos taken, including new ones you’ve probably never heard of. Check out lots of photos in the forum.

From left: Luis Scola, Trevor Ariza, Tracy McGrady, and Shane Battier

Photos from Rockets Red Rally

Monday, October 6th, 2008
by John

I’m a bit late in posting Raymond’s photos from the Rockets Red Rally that took place at Toyota Center on Saturday, but better late than never.

Oct. 5th - Yao Ming signs autographs at the Rockets Red Rally

I’ve got to think the Rockets are pretty tired of Toyota Center since it was their 5th day in a row there. They will be there another 5 days, playing Memphis on Tuesday and San Antonio on Thursday before heading out of town to play Boston next Saturday.

Photos from training camp – Day 3

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
by John

Raymond has posted photos from Day 3 of Rockets training camp here and here.

Photos from training camp – Day 2

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
by John

Raymond has posted more photos from yesterday’s training camp session here in the forum.

Photos from training camp – Day 1

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
by John

Raymond has posted lots of photos in the forum from the first day of Rockets training camp.

Sept. 30th - Yao Ming has a laugh with Carl Landry in Day 1 of Training Camp

As you’ll see from the photos, training camp is being held in Houston at Toyota Center this year instead of Austin like the past two years. Having been to Austin training camp both of those years, it really provided a great opportunity for the team to get away from all the distractions of being in Houston, like their families, most of the media, etc., and develop a stronger bond with each other. It will be interesting to see if it has an effect on the team’s chemistry at the start of the season.

On another note, the Houston Chronicle did a good story on Yao where in this article, it’s revealed that Yao has lost 13 pounds since last season, and he’s now 100% after being only 70-80% during the Olympics. The Rockets will try to reign in Yao’s work ethic by limiting his practice schedule and not have him play as many minutes per game (37.2 last season).

It’s Rockets time again

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
by Ren

Here’s another post from Ren, the latest addition to the YaoMingMania editorial team:

Yesterday was Houston Rockets media day; which means its time (at least for bloggers, early birds and now Astros fans) to refocus our energy on the upcoming NBA season. So my heretofore all-consuming fantasy football team to which hours a week had been dedicated to ensure a repeat Championship will be put in the sidecar as we burn on into Rockets ’08-’09 season.

Let’s start off with some links…

Obviously, expectations are high with the arrival of Ron-Ron and the general consensus is the Artest deal is the epitome of high-risk, high-reward. Morey is no Gus Hansen but anyone with enough pressure to win can be pushed to take uncharacteristic risks; not that this is that. No one in Houston is second-guessing the trade… yet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Good ESPN analysis on Rockets and Yao

Thursday, October 18th, 2007
by John

Here’s an article from ESPN’s Marc Stein, who wrote this piece after talking to the Rockets the afternoon of October 7th at their Austin training camp the same time I was there. I could tell Rick Adelman and many of the other Rockets players recognized Stein and respected him, which is evident by the quality of his work as seen in this article.

Yao gives final interviews on last day of Austin training camp (Sunday)

Sunday, October 7th, 2007
by John

Today was the final day in Austin for the Rockets. It was a long week and I think everybody was ready to go home. Here Yao Ming and Steve Francis are seen immediately after practice…

I was able to cap off the last 3 days with some more recorded interviews (recordings are in embedded players below).

Yao was very accommodating and let me ask more questions than I thought he would be able to give. I had to share the time with other reporters, so I wasn’t able to ask him everything I would have liked, but it was the most amount of time he had ever been able to give to me. So I really can’t complain.

In the part 1 of the interview right here…

…Yao talks about the following (among other topics):

– How his time in the low-post the past few years used to be 90% compared to 10% on the perimeter, the past few days in Austin it has been 65% in the low post, and 35% on the perimeter.

– Yao gets in the low-post different with Adelman’s offense than he did with Jeff Van Gundy’s offense. He’s not just “waiting there.”

Dikembe Mutombo has given him a lot of pounding the past few days.

– New backup center Jackie Butler is very strong. You have to pay attention to him, especially when the ball is in the air because he is very active.

– Dikembe is in better shape than last year (he’s much stronger). Deke “gets everybody every day” with his elbows.

Carroll Dawson went over to China during the summer to help Yao train, and he was appreciative that he went all the way over to China to help him.

– One of the funny things that happened during the interview is when I asked him about his free throw shooting percentage. I asked him that since he’s an 80% free throw shooter (he’s 82.2% for his NBA career), if it was going to be easier for him to score since he’s going to be spending more time at the elbow of the lane. Yao made sure to let me know his free throw percentage the past couple of years was higher, then he responded accordingly.

– With the new offense Adelman is putting into place, I brought up comparisons to Yao’s game with Arvydas Sabonis, Yao’s childhood idol.

– I asked him if Rick Adelman’s seemigly positive nature makes a difference to the team compared to Jeff Van Gundy’s demeanor?

Here’s the second part of the interview…

…where Yao addresses…

– No big guy likes to run like Adelman wants him to run, but he knows he has to do it.

– He doesn’t want to say this is the best team the Rockets have ever had because they say that every year!

– …my question if he has changed any part of his game to prevent injury?

– …if he has kept in touch with Colin Pine, his former translator who he used the first couple of years of his NBA career.

Directly below is an interview with Rick Adelman, with the first couple of questions asked by the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen (who is a fantastic reporter and great guy, by the way), then ESPN’s Marc Stein, then the Yao question asked by yours truly where Adelman beams about Yao. Then Feigen and Stein ask questions again, plus a CCTV reporter.

Directly below is an interview of Tracy McGrady, provided to me by the nice folks who work for CCTV in China. I missed this interview, but they were kind of enough to let me have a copy of it. McGrady speaks fairly soft, so you might need to crank up the volume on your machine to hear him.

Finally, click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for some more audio the CCTV guys let me copy, this one of Steve Francis and Shane Battier.

There is some background noise that arises in the middle of the interview which makes it difficult to hear, though…

Read the rest of this entry »

Rockets Training Camp in Austin – Day 5 (Saturday)

Sunday, October 7th, 2007
by John

I went to Saturday’s media session after the Rockets practice, and there was considerably less media from Houston there because many went back to Houston for the weekend. You could tell many of the players were very tired. Evidently coach Rick Adelman had them do much more running in Saturday’s practice than previous practices.

After the practice many of the players were drinking cups of Jamba Juice to refresh themselves, as you see in the first picture above. It was Rafer Alston who joked after the practice that Jamba Juice was really going to miss the Rockets after they left town because all the business they had been giving them this week in Austin.

I was able to get some good interviews, which are available below.

Here’s the one with Yao, where you can tell he was fatigued from the practice…

Here’s the tail-end of an interview that Rick Adelman was giving…

I had a good conversation with Kirk Snyder in which I started off asking him about Yao’s alleged disappointment that he wasn’t able to play in the Utah playoff series loss last year. The interview comes in two parts…

I plan to go to the final media session on Sunday, and I’m hoping I will get some time to ask Yao all the questions I have for him, but the media sessions tend to be shorter than expected since alot of players go to the bus early, which puts alot of pressure on them to wrap things up quickly.

Rockets Training Camp in Austin – Day 4 (Friday)

Friday, October 5th, 2007
by John

I just got back from Friday’s practice. The interview sessions were short, but I was able to get the tail end of Rick Adelman‘s interview, as well as Yao Ming‘s first session with the Rockets media.

Here are some of the audio clips.

Rick Adelman – was very impressed with Yao in his first practice

Yao Ming – He was very funny, like with his responses to questions about married life, as well as “Steve.” Even while suffering from a cold and understandably tired from all the travel he went through to get to Austin, I was pleasantly surprised how upbeat and humorous he was with the media.

Click here for a couple of more photos I took of Yao on Friday.