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<  Yao off the court; Yao's personality  ~  How Jeff Van Gundy Remembers Yao Ming

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:23 pm
User avatarPosts: 2329Location: Brooklyn, NYJoined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:17 pm
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/how-yao-moved-me-like-few-players-ive-ever-coached-182313844.html

Quote:
How Yao moved me like few players I've ever coached
By Jeff Van Gundy, as told to Adrian Wojnarowski
After a news conference on a preseason trip to his hometown of Shanghai, Yao Ming asked me a question on our drive back to the hotel: Would I like to see where he grew up?

“Absolutely,” I told him.

This was October of 2003. As the new head coach of the Houston Rockets, I had only been on the job for a few months. Along with Tracy McGrady, Yao was our franchise cornerstone, a No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft who, at 7-foot-6, had the skill and drive and temperament to be an MVP candidate every season.

At this time, we were still in the early stages to building a relationship. For starters, this preseason trip to China educated me quickly about the responsibility and pressure that he carried from the Far East. People rocked our bus outside the arenas. Everywhere we went in the country, they flooded us. What I noticed immediately, though: Yao was never flustered. He never lost his poise or his patience. The public Yao was the private Yao: To his core, there was an unmistakable peace to him.

So the driver of the van steered us to Yao’s elementary school, and he and I walked onto the playground. “Right there,” he told me, pointing to the ground. “That’s the dot where I stood for attendance every day.”

We drove to his childhood home, a modest walk-up of seven or eight floors. His old neighbors rushed toward him, young and old. To watch Yao, especially with the elderly folks there, the way he engaged them, is an image that never left me. There was such a warm, mutual caring between them. He wasn’t Yao Ming, the superstar basketball player. He was Yao Ming, the young kid that they had helped raise together.

As great of a player as Yao was, he was kind and patient with everybody. He wasn’t trying to feed an image, or cultivate a brand, or manipulate a public persona. There is a goodness about Yao that is unique, that never left him through all the pain and injuries and disappointments that accompanied his unprecedented accomplishments and successes.

I have heard some people disparaging Yao’s credentials for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, and it bothers me. Yes, I know there are important factors beyond his shortened playing career – the bridge he built to the Far East for the NBA, the massive impact he’s had on growing the game’s popularity and finances. That’s all part of the induction, yes, but no one should lose sight of this fact: Outside of Shaq, Yao Ming was the best center in the world.


The difference between Shaq and Yao was much smaller than the gap that Yao created between himself and the next best center, Dwight Howard. Go back and watch those games, study the stats: It was complete and utter domination.

This isn’t to knock Howard, who has had a tremendous career. But Yao was clearly better. Yao’s size, his post game, his free-throw shooting made him nearly impossible to guard – and Howard was a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

Yao was getting a bad whistle on a nightly basis too, which was often overlooked. When Yao had a major knee injury in the 2006-07 season, I believe he was on his way to becoming the regular-season MVP. He was averaging 26.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks. Truth be told, Yao Ming was toying with the league.

Sometimes, people forget how difficult walking into the NBA had been for Yao. All around the NBA, there was resentment toward him. Maybe it was the hype. Maybe it was something else. But plenty of people openly mocked and ridiculed him and it could’ve broken a lesser spirit. Even within his own Rockets locker room, Yao’s arrival wasn’t met with completely open arms. Some of the best players on the team had openly lobbied for the Rockets to draft Lamar Odom.

Before long, though, Yao won over the locker room with his personality, his talent and his work ethic.

In his relentless approach to work and preparation, Yao was unlike anyone I had ever coached. It didn’t matter whether he had played great or poorly, whether we had won or lost: His preparation never changed. Not one day. I can still see him in the film room with my former assistant, Tom Thibodeau, in the early mornings on a practice day. Then onto the court for individual work; then team practice. And after everyone else had left, there was Yao back in the darkened film room, studying more tape. You could set your watch to his routine. We asked him to keep his weight down to reduce the pounding on his frame and prevent injury, to try and stay in the 298-to-305-pound range – with 5 or 6 percent body fat. His habits and commitment to doing that were unparalleled.

Among the hardest-working players I’ve ever been associated, Yao stands at the very top of the list. Beyond that, though, here’s what truly separated him from everyone else: His ability to enjoy other people’s successes.

A lot players – and people – can say “I only care about winning,” but what many are leaving out is this: “As long as I get my own way.”

Early in Yao’s career in Houston, there were times when we would close out games with Dikembe Mutombo on the floor. Deke was still a good player, and some nights, we wouldn’t go back to Yao late in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t just that Yao was a professional and handled the situation, it was much more than that: He was genuinely happy for Dikembe.

It wasn’t long until no one – including the head coach – could keep Yao off the court. At his size, people were used to seeing limited talents – players like Manute Bol and Gheorghe Muresan and Shawn Bradley. Yao earned respect everywhere in the league. People would try to rattle him, trash talk him and he never responded. And sometimes, well, you wanted to do it for him.

Once, we had lost T-Mac from the lineup and had a tough road back-to-back against the Lakers and Warriors. Yao was torching Kwame Brown, but fatigue was setting in. It was never easy moving that big frame up and down the floor. Yao had 35 points late in the third quarter and was bent over, breathing hard, next to Brown on the free-throw line.

Brown turned to our bench, and yelled to our assistant coach, Patrick Ewing: “Your boy is tired!”

Yao heard the opposing center and said nothing. No reaction. Well, I couldn’t help myself. “Of course he’s tired,” I yelled to Brown. “He’s tired because he’s been busting your ***** all game.”

You could see the grin on Yao’s face. He had such a fantastic sense of humor. In his first season in the NBA, in 2002-03, Yao still had his interpreter, Colin Pine, doing the United Nations thing besides him. Well, we had furnished Colin with a microphone and moved him into a different room. Yao busted my chops every day, saying how I had banished Colin, shipped him into exile. Yao was deaf in one ear, and to this day, I still do not know which one. He would always make me switch sides, ask me to talk into the opposite ear. Of course, when I told him to get into a lower stance in the pick-and-roll defensive coverage, he became deaf in both ears.

It always reminded me of the scene in the movie “Brian’s Song,” when his Chicago Bears teammates played the prank on Gale Sayers and sent him into his first meeting with George Halas.

And for me, that’s how it will always be with Yao Ming: When I think of him, I’ll smile. He’s a joyful, wonderful spirit, one of the best men I’ve ever known. I’ll be in Springfield to watch his induction speech, and I truly believe this: I still think his most important contributions to society, his greatest legacies, still await him in life. The great causes that he’s championed, the changes he can impact in so many people’s lives, drive him like his passions to become a great player did in the NBA.

Welcome into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Yao. You earned it.

Jeff Van Gundy coached Yao Ming for four seasons – 2003-07 – with the Houston Rockets.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:40 am
User avatarPosts: 59329Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am


Thanks Smoket !!!

GOOD READ !!!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 1:47 am
User avatarPosts: 59329Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am


I guess there could be a couple more of these articles around these few days as the induction of Yao Ming into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is around the corner !!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

This one is from interviewing Colin Pine, Yao's intepretor during his rookie years !!!


Quote:

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/an-up-clos ... 07554.html

An up-close look
at the real Yao Ming


Chris Mannix of The Vertical
Sep 7, 2016, 10:06 PM


The joke was supposed to be on Yao. It was 2003, a few months into Yao Ming’s rookie year in Houston. A Rockets staffer found a mouse in the locker room. He stuck it in a shoebox and left it in Yao’s locker. The hope was that the mild-mannered, 7-foot-6 center would jump at the sight of the rodent. He didn’t. Yao opened the box and calmly looked across the room at Moochie Norris, Houston’s 6-1 backup point guard.

“Oh,” Yao said. “Moochie’s brother.”

Colin Pine chuckles at the memory. It’s one of thousands. For three years Pine was immersed in the life of the most compelling story in basketball. In 2002, Yao was the NBA’s top overall pick. He was the first international player to go No. 1 – and the biggest basketball star to come out of Asia, ever.

Yao needed a translator. And Pine needed a change of scenery. Back then, Pine was translating transcripts for Voices of America, a U.S. government broadcast network. He was traveling, often to Asia, where he once taught English in Taiwan. He toyed with going to law school. A few weeks before Yao was drafted, a friend told him about a job posted on an Asian study board. Pine punched up his resumé and applied. Three interviews later and Pine was hired as Yao’s bridge to the English-speaking world.

Pine knew Yao, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday, was a big deal. A lifelong basketball fan, Pine had noted the intense media coverage the months before the 2002 draft. “I had a sense of it,” Pine told The Vertical. “But I wasn’t wholly prepared for how big it was.” He met Yao on his first day, at the airport, where Pine, Yao’s mother, Fang Fengdi and a Rockets PR staffer picked up Yao. From there it was off to a press conference, where the crush of reporters offered a taste of the atmosphere Pine would have to get used to. “It was surreal,” Pine said. “And it was like that everywhere we went. Especially that first year. That first year was insane.”

Even today, Pine marvels at Yao’s ability to handle so much. He was the No. 1 pick and was expected to play like it. Early on, he didn’t. Two weeks into the season, TNT analyst Charles Barkley said Yao – then averaging 3.3 points – wouldn’t score 19 in a game. The comment didn’t go unnoticed. Two days later, Yao went for 20.

The media scrutiny was intense and stronger in Asian-rich cities such as Toronto and San Francisco. “Probably double the number of media there,” Pine said. So, too, were the marketing responsibilities. On New Year’s Eve 2002, Houston played an afternoon game at home against Milwaukee. That night, Yao hopped on a plane to Los Angeles to film an Apple commercial with actor Verne Troyer. It was one of the few times Pine can recall seeing Yao worn down from his duties. “He was an incredibly responsible person,” Pine said. “But he never had any down time. It wore on him. He always did everything with a smile on his face and he always tried to be accommodating. But it was a lot to take on.”

Humor was an outlet. “He had a very dry sense of humor,” Pine said. Norris was a frequent target. Players frequently change out of their sneakers after morning shootarounds. Yao, aware of Norris’ limited vertical leap, was known to take one of Norris’ shoes and put it on the back of the rim. Yao was popular with his teammates, yet forged the closest relationships with Steve Francis and Bostjan Nachbar, two players, Pine said, “who didn’t treat him like a No. 1 pick.”

For three years, Pine saw all of it. What began as a working relationship blossomed into a friendship. To ease the transition, Pine lived with Yao. As an employee, Pine helped Yao pay his bills, translate his phone calls and chauffer him to practice in Yao’s Toyota SUV. As a friend, Pine spent hours playing Street Fighter and CrossFire, Yao’s favored downtime activities. Toward the end of Yao’s second year, Pine began looking at other opportunities. Yao’s command of English was growing – “He was pretty self-sufficient,” said Pine, who anticipated his employment ending. A few weeks before the end of the season, Yao approached Pine: Could you stick around another year?

“He wanted to make sure he could focus on basketball,” Pine said. “He didn’t need the help; I was basically a liaison. But he didn’t want any distractions.”

Pine split with Yao in 2005. “Totally amicable,” Pine said. Today, Pine works in product licensing for NBA China. He sees Yao periodically; they talk a few times a year. The conversations, Pine says, are always very nostalgic. “With Yao, if you are a friend, you are a friend for life,” Pine said. “He is a great person. He’s modest. He has got a big heart. He’s a Hall of Famer, but he has never been about ego and he has never been about being a big star. No matter what was going on around him, he always had a great attitude.”




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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:17 pm
User avatarPosts: 2329Location: Brooklyn, NYJoined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:17 pm
Here's one from Tracy McGrady via espn

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/17421964/yao-ming-impact-reaches-far-nba-court

Quote:
McGrady: Yao Ming's impact reaches far beyond the NBA court
play


Sep 6, 2016

Tracy McGrady

When I got traded to the Houston Rockets in 2004 I really didn't know Yao Ming. He'd been in the league a few years, we'd both been to the All-Star Game and we played against each other a few times, but I had never talked to him.

I didn't think he could speak any English and I was worried about that. I thought: "How is this going to work?"

I had just won the last two scoring titles with the Orlando Magic, but I was so excited to be playing with a great big man that I knew I was going to have to work with him and feed him the ball. But to do that, we needed communication.

How would I talk to him on the court? Would I have to look over at an interpreter on the bench every time we needed to say something to each other? I was thinking maybe we'd have earpieces or something.

When I finally met him, I realized two things: he does speak English and not only does he speak it, he has an amazing sense of humor.

I loved seeing his personality come out more and more over the years as he got more comfortable in Houston. That's how I really learned what an amazing person he is. He will sometimes just pretend he doesn't speak English -- he does that even to this day!

I remember when he came to my wedding reception in 2006. My family and friends were so excited and they all wanted to take pictures and get autographs, and he pretended he couldn't understand them. I just had to sit back and laugh.

Man, you never really get over his size, a guy who is 7-foot-6 and that big. Even now when we stand next to each other, I can't get over it.

That's why Yao getting into the Hall of Fame is so deserved. His skills for a man his size were just unbelievable. He could do everything. He could post up, score with either hand, shoot a jumper, he had an array of moves. He could block shots. He passed so well and that's so rare for a guy his size.

I'd never played with a big man of his caliber. I didn't know he was that skilled before I came to the Rockets, but then I saw it every day in practice, every day before games, after games. He really put in the work to perfect his craft -- he even took our technical foul shots because he was that great of a free throw shooter.

He had a mean streak, too. You'd see it come out whenever he'd get dunked on.

"They didn't see Michael Jordan play, they saw us. They saw Yao."
Tracy McGrady, on playing with Yao Ming in China

Then there was Yao's impact on the global game. You have to understand, before him, basketball wasn't popular in China. I had made trips there before he came into the league, and there was basketball, but it wasn't a part of the Chinese culture.

Now, there's over 300 million people in China playing because of Yao Ming.

I saw it. I felt it. That is his legacy. He brought NBA basketball to China and I will forever be thankful that I was able to be a part of it. He introduced the country to Tracy McGrady.

We were their heroes. They didn't see Michael Jordan play, they saw us. They saw Yao.

In 2007, there was a game we played in Houston against the Milwaukee Bucks when they had former No. 6 overall pick and fellow Chinese star, Yi Jianlian. It was just a regular-season game, but 200 million people watched in China.

That's Yao's impact. I was in awe.


Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming were teammates for six seasons in Houston, but the duo failed to get past the second round. Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
When I think of the six seasons we played together, it hurts. It's tough for me to speak about even now. We never got a fair chance because of injuries.

We could've had a championship team, Yao and me. We had several great opportunities. There were times when we were thriving. But we could never be healthy; it's so unfortunate. The one year we had the team -- we'd gotten Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Kyle Lowry, Carl Landry, Ron Artest -- I was thinking that was the year.

Then I blew out my knee. I was devastated. That team was so good. The guys beat the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round and we were in a battle with the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round when Yao broke his foot. That was our year.

What if. So many what ifs.

We still had some great memories. We hosted the All-Star Game in Houston together and we both addressed the crowd before the game and he spoke in English, I'll always remember that. It was awesome.

We had a 22-game winning streak in 2007-08, the fourth-longest run in NBA history. Even then, Yao got hurt after the 12th win. If we had something to hold onto, that's it. When we were both healthy, we really were great together.

Yao is truly a great and humble person. You just can't recognize his accomplishments on the court without seeing his kindness and humbleness off it. I am proud to call Yao my friend.

He opened so many doors. He personally put me in position to have a life after basketball. I'm so lucky to have had a chance to know him, play with him and to work with him. He has a legacy very few have, and he has been and will continue to be a great influence.

It's what he does, it's who he is.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:52 pm
User avatarPosts: 59329Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am

Photos of Yao Ming in the pre-enshrinement press conference held in Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield, Massachusetts.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:13 pm
User avatarPosts: 59329Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am

Another one from Jonathen Feigen of Houston Chronicle, right from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame !!!


Quote:

http://www.chron.com/sports/rockets/art ... 211145.php


Yao Ming taken aback by
visit to Basketball Hall of Fame


By Jonathan Feigen
Thursday, September 8, 2016


As John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, attempted to ceremonially lift Yao Ming's new Hall of Fame jacket to his shoulders, it was immediately clear he did not stand a chance. He did have a suitable assistant nearby.

Shaquille O'Neal jumped up to take on the duties with a flourish before he and Yao could begin a weekend sharing reminders of their battles and at least one interesting, if largely apocryphal, story of the start of their friendship.

Yet, moments after Yao slipped on his new, orange blazer, and despite 7-foot-6 worth of evidence to the contrary, he looked around the Hall and felt the way so many often had in his presence.

"When walking in this Hall, for the first time, I feel I'm so small," the 7-foot-6 Yao said. "I don't know if Shaq agrees with that. I feel so small when I look to the rooftop (at) all the pictures around here. I see my picture up there. With all those pictures up there, I can't stop myself to think how small I am."

The tallest player ever to be become a Hall of Famer – giving the Rockets the tallest and shortest (Calvin Murphy) Hall members -- Yao looked up at the portraits of Hall of Fame members that ring the inside of the dome and was humbled by the company he now keeps.

Yao had said that he never imagined himself as a Hall of Famer, and even months after his selection had been announced in Houston last April, it still seemed unbelievable to him. He did, however, hope to get a better look at the Hall of Fame and museum, including the portrait of former teammate and friend Dikembe Mutombo, just a few feet removed from his.

"I haven't had a chance to walk around yet, but I heard of this place for many years," Yao said. "Finally, when I reached here, it's (fulfilling.)

Yao said his selection is "more special" to go in the Hall of with O'Neal and O'Neal called Yao among his toughest opponents, a designation he had often reserved only for former Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon.

"Yao's a fabulous player, one-of-a-kind, 7-7 with excellent skills," O'Neal said. "Nobody blocked my shot. Nobody and I played against the best. The first time I played against Yao, he blocked it three times in a row. I had to get angry and start dunking. But you can't stop Yao. You just have to stay in front of him and hope he'll miss. He'd get it, look at you and shoot it right over you. He was probably my toughest match up.

"I'm happy for Yao. I'm happy for China, probably my favorite place."

O'Neal added that their friendship blossomed when he took the advice of his father, Phillip Harrison, and stopped mocking Yao in the months leading up to their first meeting.

"My father felt I was being disrespectful to a kid that looked up to me," O'Neal said. "I went home one day and opened up a box of letters Yao had written to me, Christmas cards, Happy Birthday. My father said I should show him more respect. That's when we really became close."

Yao laughed and said he never wrote O'Neal any letters. He was, however, known to send many Christmas cards, including to every member of the Rockets organization, beginning with his rookie year. His rapport with O'Neal was evident from their celebrated first meeting, won by the Rockets in overtime.

"The first game against Shaq was in Houston and got a lot of attention," Yao said. "I heard about how good he can be, but you never know until you play against him. I was more curious and excited about that game that was coming.

"He is a nightmare for a lot of basketball players; sometimes mine, too. He was a competitor on the court that kept us driving (to) move forward."

O'Neal was not alone in driving Yao to his place in Springfield, something he could always appreciate but especially when seeing his facing looking down from the Hall's dome.

"It is very, very simple," Yao said. "The treatment I am getting today is from the benefit I had from so many -- coaches, fans, teammates, opponents, managers. A little bit from everybody made me who I am and I appreciate that."


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:16 pm
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CONGRATS TO BIG YAO FOR BEING INDUCTED IN THE HOF! THANKS TO HIS ON-COURT ACCOMPLISHMENTS WHICH INCLUDE:

1) MULTIPLE FIBA AZN CHAMPIONSHIPS!

2) MAKING THE QUARTERFINALS IN THE OLYMPICS!

3) PASSING THE 1ST ROUND OF THE NBA PLAYOFFS ONLY ONCE IN HIS NBA CAREER!


CONGRATS BIG YAO!

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:35 am
User avatarPosts: 2329Location: Brooklyn, NYJoined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:17 pm
for more context about shaq,

Saw this from the sporting news.

http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/basketball-hall-of-fame-induction-shaquille-oneal-yao-ming-wrote-fan-letters-christmas-cards/12qlcqg22gfe21w8scfr95oq9p

Quote:
Shaq, on eve of Hall induction, says young Yao Ming wrote him fan letters, Christmas cards

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By Sean Deveney
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Shaquille O’Neal had, in the early part of his career, made his reputation on his ability to dominate his opponent and, when possible, get into his head a little bit.

O’Neal had done that with Chinese center Yao Ming, too, as Yao was being hailed as O’Neal's eventual replacement as the NBA’s top big man. At least, O’Neal said, until he got a call from his father. Speaking just ahead of his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame here, O’Neal recalled that his father told him, “You need to show Yao a little more respect.”

O’Neal was puzzled. He argued back with his father. Why, he demanded to know, did he need to show Yao more respect?

It was because O’Neal’s parents ran his fan club and came across some old missives in the fan club archive. “He showed me letters that Yao used to write me when he was a youngster in China,” O’Neal said. “Christmas cards, birthday cards. My father said, ‘The guy looked up to you.’ Most of the guys I was killing, I looked up to them. But he said Yao looked up to me, so show him a little more respect. Our relationship changed after that.”

There was a time, after Yao entered the league in 2002, that battles between his Rockets and O’Neal’s Lakers were highly anticipated. The two only faced each other 13 times (plus five playoff games in a 2004 series) in their careers, so the rivalry never truly blossomed. But a few months before Yao entered the league, O’Neal said in a television interview, “Tell Yao Ming, ‘Ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh,” and was criticized for the racist overtones of that statement. He’d set up Yao as a rival to be attacked.

O’Neal later apologized for the quote and their relationship evolved after his father told him about the letters he’d received. It’s somewhat sad — foot injuries cut short Yao’s career, or else he still might be playing — that the two players are going into the Hall of Fame together on Friday, but maybe fitting, too. After their rocky initial meetings, Yao and O’Neal have become good friends.

“I always respected him,” Yao said. “When you come into the league at the time I did, as a big man, you have to respect him because he was the best in the league. But he is a great guy off the court, too, more than just a great player.”

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Shaq vs. Yao, back in the day. (Getty Images)

O’Neal recalled the time when Yao was in his third NBA season, and O’Neal had yet to really speak with him, thinking Yao — who did interviews through a translator even as he was learning English — could only speak Chinese. “He hit me with a nice move,” O’Neal said, “and I said, ‘Damn, that was a nice move.’ He said, ‘Thank you, brother.’ I was like, ‘You speak English?’ He said, ‘Yeah, Shaq, you just never talked to me.’”

Both O’Neal and Yao are still honing their speeches for Friday night’s induction, but O’Neal said he figures they’ll have some time to socialize.

“I always do,” O’Neal said. “I have been going to China for the last seven or eight years, and we always get together, hang out with the families. He is a great man.”


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 8:35 am
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TheSmoket wrote:
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/how-yao-moved-me-like-few-players-ive-ever-coached-182313844.html

Quote:
How Yao moved me like few players I've ever coached
By Jeff Van Gundy, as told to Adrian Wojnarowski

In his relentless approach to work and preparation, Yao was unlike anyone I had ever coached. .........Among the hardest-working players I’ve ever been associated, Yao stands at the very top of the list. ........
thanks for the article, smoke.


there reason that Yao had succeeded in the NBA is the same reason
why ZZW had an unproductive NBA career :!:




does anyone know who (among the living HoFers) has Yao asked
to escort him to the podium to accept the honor.

    Shaq has asked Dr J, Bill Russell and several others

my guess is that Yao would ask Sabonis and Walton.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:11 am
User avatarPosts: 59329Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am
Dr. No wrote:

does anyone know who (among the living HoFers) has Yao asked
to escort him to the podium to accept the honor.

    Shaq has asked Dr J, Bill Russell and several others

my guess is that Yao would ask Sabonis and Walton.


Bill Russell, Bill Walton and his buddy, Dikembe Mutombo !!!


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