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'*What they said about Yao' category archive

“Team Yao’s” Bill Sanders reflects on his time with Yao

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
by John

Since Yao confirmed his retirement on Wednesday, many pieces have been written about Yao Ming’s career. YaoMingMania has been directing you to some of these items, and came across a few more that stand out above the rest.

The first is this blog post from one of two Americans who probably has known Yao longer than any other American: “Team Yao” member Bill Sanders, Chief Marketing Officer for Bill Duffy & Associates (a.k.a. BDA Sports), which represents some of the NBA’s top players.

Sanders blogs about the current mood at BDA’s offices around Yao’s retirement, the time he first met Yao in China back in 2000, what it was like during the whirlwind days of Yao’s first couple of years in the NBA (which YaoMingMania covered in detail back then), and much more. Check it out here.

Sanders also tweeted about this insightful article from the LA Times about how Yao’s retirement will leave China with a gaping void in their international “charm campaign,” and this NY Times article about the state and future of Chinese basketball with Yao now retired.

All we can say is that China has alot of work to do to make up for the loss of Yao from the world basketball stage.

More emotional words for Yao from Rockets executives

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
by John

The Rockets did a great job of posting letters on their Web site that some Rockets execs and owner Leslie Alexander wrote to Yao thanking him for his time as a Rocket. I bet it would be hard for anyone to get through reading these letters without getting a little teary-eyed. I’m sure Yao would.

Check ’em out here, but make sure you have some Kleenex nearby. All of us would be lucky to receive letters from colleagues that are anything close to these when we retire.

A note from Yao to his Houston fans; Rocket reactions about Yao’s retirement

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
by John

On Wednesday, Yao posted on his Facebook page the following message to his American fans, especially those in Houston:

Special thanks to my friends overseas, especially to fans in Houston. I would like to thank you for giving me great nine years during my NBA career. Nine years ago I came to Houston as a young, tall, skinny player, and the entire city and the team changed me to a grown man, not only a basketball player. I will always be with you, thank you!

In Houston, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle filed an interesting article about some of the Rockets’ front office reactions to Yao officially retiring on Wednesday.

Owner Leslie Alexander:

“It’s sad. He had such great potential. He fulfilled it, really, but we would have been a great team with him. It’s sad for him because I know he wants to play very badly. It’s sad for the Rockets.”

Rockets’ CEO Tad Brown:

“I’m still kind of in shock, actually. I can’t imagine the Rockets without Yao Ming. I’m sad. I’m really disappointed for Mr. Alexander and the franchise, but I’m hoping Yao is at peace with his decision and certainly look forward to being in his life.

“I look forward to having him be a part of the Rockets family for years to come. He’s larger than life. He’s a global icon. He’s going to continue to be in his retirement. It’s going to be exciting to see what the future holds for such an intelligent, proud man.”

Washington Post article about Yao’s influence; YaoMania quote included

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
by John

Reporter Gene Wang of the Washington Post contacted YaoMingMania the other day about an article he was putting together regarding Yao’s influence on basketball and the NBA. The article went live a few hours ago, which you can check out here.

Zydrunas has helped Yao (both had the same foot surgery)

Friday, December 11th, 2009
by John

Here’s an interesting video with Yao and Cleveland’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who was in Houston for the Cavaliers-Rockets game Wednesday night.

Zydrunas has provided good moral support to Yao ever since Yao learned he was going to have the same surgery on his foot that Zydrunas had, and Yao is obviously thankful. In the video, Big Z tells a little bit of what may be in store for Yao as he gets back to playing in the NBA.

Jonathan Feigen of the Chronicle also recapped the similarity between Zydrunas’ and Yao’s surgery in this story.

Rockets.com writer Jason Friedman shares his most recent thoughts about Yao

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
by John

Recently YaoMania had an opportunity to talk with Rockets.com writer Jason Friedman, who was nice enough to spend some time with us at Toyota Center.

In part 1 of our video interview, Jason tells us the effect that Yao still has on the team even though he’s injured, how well he’ll be expected to fit into the offense the Rockets are running successfully this season, and more (apologies for the construction noises in the background in the first minute or two).

Thanks Jason!

More stories on Yao

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
by John

I was listening to an old interview that Shane Battier gave to a local radio station a couple of weeks ago, and I was struck by this conversation that Shane had with the interviewer talking about Yao getting little respect from referees, but still manages to maintain his cool.

Interviewer: “Yao never loses it against players who are beating him all the time…”
Shane: “He’s amazing. I wouldn’t trade him for anyone in the entire league. Anybody.”

Interviewer: “Do you guys take up for him to officials during the game?”
Shane: “Oh yeah, no question, no question.”

Interviewer: “What do they say to you?”
Shane: “I don’t know. They just sort of blow us off. I don’t know what it is about Yao. I wish Yao would even go after the refs a little harder and just let them know, hey, ‘I’m a 6-7 year All-Star in this league.’ I deserve some calls sometime.”

I love Shane for his loyalty toward Yao.

On another front, Raymond has translated an interview that Yao gave to Sohu Sports where he talks about improved cohesion in the locker room, his performance late in games, and what will happen with the team when Tracy McGrady returns to the line-up.

Finally, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle wrote an excellent article about Yao’s effectiveness in the fourth quarter.

What they said: November 2007

Friday, November 30th, 2007
by John

“Every year, Yao is getting better. The Rockets showed their confidence in him, when they go through him at the end of the game like they did tonight. He made some big shots and was tough to stop.”

    – Tim Duncan, on the Rockets’ big man who had 28 points and 13 rebounds in Houston’s 89-81 win over the Spurs, 11/06/07

“He’s so much more relaxed now.”

    – Steve Francis, on how Yao handled all the hoopla with the media frenzy around Yao’s matchup with Yi Jianlian, 11/09/07

“He handles it so great. I really admire the way he handles himself, the way he carries himself.”

    – Rockets’ teammate Shane Battier on how Yao Ming handled himself with all the attention from 200 million Chinese viewers (reportedly) watching him and Yi Jianlian in their first NBA matchup, 11/09/07

“I don’t think there’s a better one-two combination (in the NBA). Tracy is a great offensive player. He’s an all-star who creates his own shots and is able to get to the basket and finish. Yao Ming is basically what they call him, ‘The Great Wall of China.’ Once he posts in the block, he’s so hard to guard. Your best defense against him is to try and not let him get the ball, because once he gets the ball, he’s pretty much unstoppable. Plus, he’s a good passer who sees the floor well and gets his teammates the ball in good positions. That might be the best one-two combination since MJ and Pippen.”

    – Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace after Yao Ming scored 34 points on 13-of-15 shooting and 8-of-8 shooting from the line after a Houston victory over the Bobcats, 11/11/07

More Yao-Hakeem photos, quotes, and video

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007
by John
More photos of Yao and Hakeem's workout on Tuesday have been posted in the YaoMania! forum.More photos of Yao and Hakeem’s workout on Tuesday have been posted in the YaoMania! forum. Click here to check ’em out (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Here’s some video from the historical Hakeem-Yao workout that took place at Toyota Center on Tuesday.

Last but not least, here are some quotes that both Yao and Hakeem provided to the press after the workout:

From Hakeem:

* “It’s amazing how agile he is for a guy of that size. He’s so smart because he understands the game. He’s just looking for the things that he can do so that he can enhance the skills that he’s already got. He just has to dominate the game. He has so many advantages because of his size and skill so I’m just showing him little things that he can do to consistently be a dominating player. It will be scary to see what he can do in the future.”

* “He has to take advantage of his size, meaning when he’s in the lane, the lane is closed. He should block everything that comes in there. By standing up, he’s very difficult to shoot over. He has all the tools and all the potential. By adding little things to his game, he can be dominating.”

* “It was so much fun to work with a great player like him. He has so much potential. It’s scary to think what he can really do. By just adding little things to his game he can raise his level.

“The important thing for him because he is playing so well already is just how to dominate the game. He has all the advantages and he’s so skilled. Little things he can do to make him be a dominant player consistently. It’s scary to see what he can do in the future.”

From Yao:

* “I’m learning the mentality from him. I don’t know how many times I heard him talk about being dominant. That’s why he can be ‘The Dream.’ The mentality is the biggest difference between him and me right now. I hope not far in the future that I can do things like him.”

Read the rest of this entry »

How these playoffs will define Yao’s legacy

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007
by John

The Houston Chronicle’s John Lopez has a nice blog post about how Yao is on his way to becoming one of the top centers of all time if he can dominate this post-season. Nice work, John.