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<  Yao off the court; Yao's personality  ~  Yang Yi's book on Yao

PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2004 11:52 pm
Posts: 311Location: HKSARJoined: Fri Nov 14, 2003 9:20 am
http://sports.sohu.com/1/0104/13/subject218541355.shtml

Only available up to Chapter 7 (out of 72) in this link.
A good reading for all Yao's fans who can read Chinese.
Not sure where we can buy the book.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 2:28 am
User avatarPosts: 58984Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am
stream wrote:
http://sports.sohu.com/1/0104/13/subject218541355.shtml

Only available up to Chapter 7 (out of 72) in this link.
A good reading for all Yao's fans who can read Chinese.
Not sure where we can buy the book.


Thanks Stream for the link.

Not sure whether the book has been completed. Or else, I think you can buy this book in some of the book stores in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing.
:shock: :P :oops: :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:01 am
User avatarPosts: 1991Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:55 pm
pryuen wrote:
stream wrote:
http://sports.sohu.com/1/0104/13/subject218541355.shtml

Only available up to Chapter 7 (out of 72) in this link.
A good reading for all Yao's fans who can read Chinese.
Not sure where we can buy the book.


Thanks Stream for the link.

Not sure whether the book has been completed. Or else, I think you can buy this book in some of the book stores in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing.
:shock: :P :oops: :wink:


Pryuen, why don't you just read it online. And you can translate it too.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:24 pm
User avatarPosts: 58984Location: Hong Kong/ChinaJoined: Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:13 am
sinobball wrote:
Pryuen, why don't you just read it online. And you can translate it too.


OOPPSS !!! It's just tooooooo d%%n long !!! 72 chapters !!! Beside my translation skill is not as good as yours !!!! :shock: :P :oops: :wink:

Anyway, I've bookmark the website, and I'll read them sequentially, as the chapters become available, (WHICH MAKES ME THINK THAT THE BOOK HAS YET TO BE COMPLETED !!)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:28 pm
User avatarPosts: 1991Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:55 pm
Actually, when I started to read it, it's actually interesting. So I said, heck, I'm going to translate it. I can translate one chapter a day, at least that's faster than him writing it.

Everyone knows that Yang Yi is Yao's close friend, right.
-------------------------------------------------------


Foreword: The Yao Ming that I have to write about
by Yang Yi
Image

I actually became a little famous by writing about Yao Ming.

One and a half year a go, when Yao Ming first won the CBA Championships, someone had asked me to write a book about Yao Ming. But Yao Ming said, he didn't want to have a biography that early in his career. So I had to give up.

Since then, various books and albums on Yao Ming, without his consent, have numbered about 4 or 5 already.

That's why, when I planned and prepared for writing this book, I called Yao Ming: "I'm going to publish the book I wrote about you, what do you think?"

Yao Ming replied: "Let me think about this."

I said: "What are you going to think about, there are so many books already. I just want to tell you because we are friends."

He said: "Because you're different than they're, so what you write will be different too. In these years, what you saw and what you know, is simply too much. "

I said: "I just don't want so many interesting stories to go wasted. A lot of things, if I don't write about them, nobody will write about them. Because when the story happened, there was only one reporter: me. So I just wanted to write that history for others to read, including myself."

Yao Ming said: "Actually, when those people wrote books about me, I thought, I'd rather tell you to publish a book. Your book will best reflect me, and I can grab one copy and read it when I'm bored. That's interesting."

Then he promised he will write the foreword for this book. But at noon on the second day, Yao Ming called, and said he has to delay this thing. He didn't say the reason, but I already guessed it, because Team Yao had sold the rights to Yao's first autobiography to ESPN for $1,500,000, and it will be composed by columnist Ric Bucher for him, and published after the Athens Olympics. His agent said, Yao can't write the foreword for other books, otherwise it will affect ESPN's autobiography.

Yao Ming said: "I definitely can't write the foreword, so if you want to publish it, it has nothing to do with it."

Therefore, the status of this biography is already different from Pepsi Coke, Sohu.net, or China Unicom. So from an exact viewpoint, if a history book is not official, it's just a book of tales.

But a history of tales is usually more interesting than an official history. Chen Shou's "Three Kingdoms Book" is an official history, Luo Guanzhong's "The Tale of the Three Kingdoms" is a history of tales. But Yao just loves "The Tale of the Three Kingdoms", he never read "Three Kingdoms Book."

All right. Even though, I'm still going to obey truth following the conscience and moral standards of a news reporter, and at the same time protect Yao Ming. If some details in this biography differs from the actual facts due to the passage of time and people, I will apologize to my readers and to Yao Ming himself. But I have enough confidence that what I'm writing about is what has actually happened in the past.

For four years, I have been following Yao Ming constantly. I'm one of his friends, but I will try to present his thoughts and his life to the fans; I'm one of his protectors, but I will try my best to judge him fairly. From Shanghai to Ningbo, from Indianapolis to Houston. One day, when I put together all the articles that I wrote about him on my computer, I found they already totaled more than 500,000 Chinese characters. Amidst the 500,000 characters, there's heroism, determination, and greatness, but also sorrow, deceit, and darkness.

There have been biographies on Yao Ming before. But there was never one which was done by a reporter who has witnessed all the great moments in Yao Ming's life with him. This book doesn't contain any specific details such as how big his shoe sizes are, only Yao's life as a basketball player. I hope more people will know Yao Ming as a person, and not the Yao Ming that is deified.

That's why to me, Yao Ming is someone that I have to write about.

Finally, I wish Rick's book becomes the most successful biography. I once ate steaks with him, he's a very likeable fellow.


Last edited by sinobball on Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:47 pm
User avatarPosts: 1991Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:55 pm
Preface: The Road to the Ideal Kingdom
Image

Before I'm going to tell you about Yao Ming's stories, his second season in the NBA has already begun.

At this time, Yao Ming is no longer just a basketball star. In his first season in the NBA, he has become the most influential and the most important person in Chinese basketball history.

In the 5 months he returned to China from the States, Yao Ming first organized a large-scale anti-SARS donation movement, and his huge social influence resulted him being named one of China's top 10 young people. Then on a morning in Shanghai, Yao Ming wore all white and led thousands of people run across the newly built Lupu Bridge, and he became the image person for his hometown: Shanghai City.

When he left again, you notice that in China, Yao Ming is everywhere. When you lower your head, you see him on the Pepsi Cola bottle on your hand; when you raise your head, you see the huge Unicom billboards that are standing in every city. In reality, Yao Ming has transformed to a national idol.

This is a tall and imposing Yao Ming from the surfacce.

But personality-wise, Yao Ming is the most special interviewee I've ever seen. Growing up in Shanghai, the traditional ways and the modern ways have combined on his personality. He's humble yet arrogant, confident but deferential, smart yet honest, and stubborn but transforming. He usually reveals great ingenuity, contained in a body of a giant.

Yao Ming is actually a simple guy under the imposing appearance. The simpler the person is, the more beautiful he's usually.

Yao Ming would easily like or hate a thing. He can easily like a person just like he can easily hate a person. He lives in his own "Ideal Kingdom", he really believes the world has certain pure elements; he always thinks he can explain everything using his ways, and then let everything beside him become more perfect. So even as rich and famous as he's now, Yao Ming is usually dissatisfied.

23 years old, Yao Ming is still on his way to his "Ideal Kingdom".


Last edited by sinobball on Thu Mar 11, 2004 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 2:39 pm
User avatarPosts: 1991Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:55 pm
(preface continued)
Yao Ming and his Houston Rockets on the Road
Image

The Rockets still didn't get in the playoffs in Yao Ming's first season, that was their 4th season in a row. As a result, the little bald guy with big bags under his eyes, Jeff Van Gundy replaced Rudy Tomjanovich. In his new season, the Rockets also have a new logo and a new stadium.
 
The most important thing for Van Gundy, who's known for his defense and his manipulation of centers, is how to use Yao Ming.

Van Gundy arrived a few months prior to Yao Ming. When Yao Ming arrived in Houston, Van Gundy has already settled down.

He emptied Rudy's office, and moved to a smaller room across the hallway, he says he's more focused over there. Rudy's former office was on the second floor of the Rockets training compound (Westside tennis club), although it wasn't luxurious, it was big and comfortable. One time Yao Ming walked to the second floor, pushed the door open, and saw photos of the celebrations in 1994 and 1995 NBA Championships, hanging on the wall.

Van Gundy brought his new coaching staff, almost everyone belonged to his "Gangs of New York", including legendary center Patrick Ewing. Some of the old coaching staffs found new jobs in other cities, some stayed at home and are waiting for new opportunities. The only one of Rudy's old crew who stayed is a white coach named Wells. He used to be an assistant coach, and would cheer the team up before a game, but now he no longer has any say in anything. When the team plays away games now, he carries the bags and follows the team quietly.

Another one who worked under Rudy is the strength and conditioning coach Anthony Falsone. He came to Beijing on August. At that time the official reason was to check on Yao Ming's health, and create a training plan for Yao Ming. But the fact is, Falsone only saw Yao Ming once on the dinnertable, and what they talked about was hardly related to basketball at all. After a few dishes, Falsone took out a huge envelope, and took out three letters----After all his trip was mainly to send 3 letters to Yao Ming, one by Van Gundy, the other two by the other two major assistant coaches.

Before Yao Ming arrived in the hotel, I talked with Falsone. I asked him: "What is the biggest difference between Van Gundy and Rudy?"

Falsone said: "Everybody thinks Van Gundy is a workaholic. He works all the time, and he expects we all do the same. Rudy was more tolerant to young players, he'd just point to a big direction. But Van Gundy's like you have to do what I'm telling you to do. He's more strict, and on the court, he demands all players to do as told, zero tolerance."

I said: "So that's how you are sent here?"

Falsone laughed and shook his head: "What can I say, that's my job."

This is an old guy who's actually 30 but looks more like 50. After flying for a thousand miles just to send a few letters, Falsone only stayed in Beijing for 3 days: he was just about to adjust to the time difference when he flew back to Houston. When he talked he sounded very helpless: when Rudy was there he never did anything like that. Falsone said there're only two years remaining on his contract with the team, after that he'll go home and retire.

It's true that Van Gundy is different from Rudy. He rarely smiles, usually covers his upper lip with his lower lip, and his eyes look like the eyes of a hawk. Houston's people had been very familiar with Rudy's smiles during the last ten years. The veteran commentator of the Rockets television Worrell used to lie down the table at the press conference and ask Rudy, and Rudy will laugh with him and say: "You again, my friend." But no longer so. When Van Gundy sits behind the table, Worrell, who's as bald, will just hand him the microphone.

That's why in Yao Ming's first days there, sometimes it was very comforting to catch a glimpse of Van Gundy's smile. Power forward Maurice Taylor would tell the reporters after practice: "Van Gundy smiled today." But Yao Ming said: "I didn't notice, when did he have that angry look on his face?" Maby Yao was the only one who didn't feel threatened after big reshuffles and reorganizing. I joked with him on the phone: "Impossible, maybe you're the only one Van Gundy smiles at?"

One day, Yao Ming sat in front of his locker in the locker room. The day before, after the game, Van Gundy had just criticized Francis playing too selfishly, and Houston was in a turmoil over this. At that time the locker room was full of American reporters, surrounding Francis. Yao Ming then said in Chinese that none of them could understand: "Right now, I can't speak."

Of course he can't speak. He also doesn't have to speak. This Houston Rockets is developing into another Team Yao. To let Yao Ming become the focus and direction of the offense, to let him touch the ball 50 times a game like Dream Olajuwon, to let the Rockets' offense start with him, this is Van Gundy's style and his goal.

Portland, their first preseason away game. The team had already moved in the hotel, on the side of the river that crosses the city, the night before. In the Rudy Era, the players can gather after 4pm on the game day. The night before was the perfect time to go in the city and have fun. Even if they partied all night, the players can sleep til the afternoon and still not miss the game. When the players got the keys and were contemplating where to go happy at night, Van Gundy made an announcement on the first floor of the hotel.

He said: "I hope all of you rest well tonight. You all have to get up by 8 tomrrow morning, we will eat breakfast together. Then we will eat lunch together."

Such rules are what Yao Ming had been familiar with ever since childhood, it was almost created for Yao Ming. But the American players probably never saw this, they looked at each other, but they had to accept it. The fun life Francis had been having was over. Van Gundy continued: "Everyone has to follow this. If only 5 people did what I asked, I will play these 5 players."

This, in another word, is "If someone can't follow my rules, either sit, or go."

Obviously, everything is not as easy as said. Yao Ming probably needs 3 or 5 years to reach where everyone expects him to be at. Yao Ming said: "I love a slow and gradual change for everything." But many changes are gradually realizing.

Wearing the new jerseys of the Rockets, the stripes on his sides extended his long shade longer. He left the locker room, crossed the aisle, and marched into the new Toyota Center. This is no longer the Compaq Center. This is the road to his world.


Last edited by sinobball on Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:15 pm
User avatarPosts: 1991Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:55 pm
Yao Ming and his Chinese NT on the road
Image

If you ask Yao Ming what his biggest wish is, he'll tell you, it's leading the Chinese NT to a gold medal in the world, and not leading the Rockets to an NBA Championships. Of course, after that reply, he'll add: "I also know, this is but a dream."

Yao Ming is very young, but already a veteran in the Chinese NT. When he was first selected to the Chinese NT training camp in 1998, the veterans who were still dominating Chinese basketball----Hu Weidong, Sun Jun, Li Xiaoyong, Gong Xiaobin, Liu Yudong etc. are still at their career bests. As years passed, they're no longer to be found in the Chinese NT, the players who replaced them--- Mo Ke, Zhu Fangyu, Du Feng, and Gong Songlin, are also born in the 1980s, just like Yao Ming.

But because all these players have entered the Chinese NT much later than Yao Ming, Yao would like to call them "the youngsters", and call himself "the elders". He loves being flattered, if you tell him "You elders can't do such and such", this guy will smile instantly.

July and August, the Chinese NT was still traveling in 9 cities to play exhibition games. One evening, Yao Ming counted with his fingers and said: "In the current National Team, only Bayi's Li Nan and Zhang Jinsong, and Bateer have stayed in the Chinese NT longer than I am. Fan Bin is 33 years old, 10 years older than I am, but even he hasn't been longer in the NT than I am. "

He continued: "When I first started to play in the Chinese NT, I thought, I even got a chance to play in the same team with those old guys, that feeling was just unbelievable. But after all I had played with them in the CBA league, so we were pretty familiar with each other. Now, some of these youngsters have never played with me in the CBA, what do you think they would think of me?"

Yao Ming loves to talk to the youngsters. Even when he sits on the bench, he will go direct Mo Ke and Du Feng, tell them to pay attention to the back of the opponent centers, teach them what time was right to follow them. He also tells Xue Yuyang, who was just selected in the NBA draft, to first carry the bags and shoes for the beterans over there, otherwise it'll be difficult.

It was on a dinner. Xue Yuyang was preoccupied with eating steaks, and occasionally nodded his head. Yao Ming was preoccupied with talking.

Yao Ming had played twice in major international competitions. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Chinese NT finished 10th, Yao Ming was discovered by the world; in the 2002 Indianapolis World Championships, Chinese NT finished 12th, Yao Ming was selected to the All-Tournament team. But every time he mentioned those two tournaments, Yao Ming was a little depressed. He always said: "Before when we didn't have any centers, how did the elders play, we went into top 8 in the world twice!! Now it seems we're farther and farther away from the top 8."

In the Indianapolis World Championships, after a 24-point lead, Chinese NT was completely disturbed by New Zealand's full court pressure. The ball was stripped away one time after another, and New Zealand sealed the victory. Later in Busan, Chinese NT still led by seven 22 seconds before the final whistle, but the Koreans did the same thing. Again they used full-court pressure to disturb the Chinese team, and tied the game before the final blow, and won the game in overtime.

One time, I asked Yao Ming: "Do youknow the 3 major contributions Chinese basketball has made to the world in the history?" He said he doesn't know. I told him: One, old Huang Bailing's one hand sudden stop jump shot; two, the strategies used in fast breaks; three, to use full-court pressure as a strategy. When I finished, Yao Ming put his head into the blankets for a long time, and finally said: "Then we don't have to say anything."

Actually, he just never stopped talking. After the exhibition games in Hefei, the NT flew back to Beijing, and Yao Ming talked with Zheng Wu, 36, who just joined Australia's Melbourne Tigers. Both used the Shanghai dialect, and enjoyed each other's company verymuch.

Zheng Wu: "At our time, we didn't have a big man. Every time we saw a 210 (6-10) guy, we didn't know what to do. Now you guys, holy cow, when I saw you blocked them like a piece of cake, you know how relieved I felt!"

Yao Ming said: "But our record was much worse than that from your times. Did you see Gong Songlin? He's a smart player, good passer. I think if he can continue to develop, he'll probably resemble you out of the elders."

Then the officials of the Chinese Athletic Company, who were responsible for organizing the games, said: "The Tigers already finished their boarding cards, they can board now. The Chinese NT can wait for a while." Yao Ming and Zheng Wu still stood in Chinese NT's company, talking, until someone finally came and shouted: "Zheng Wu, time to go!" Zheng Wu finally understood. One evening Zheng Wu laughed when he talked about this: "I still thought I was part of the Chinese NT. Sigh, 10 years have passed." I told Yao Ming about this, Yao Ming sighed and said: "The elders have all pulled out."

Before he came back to Houston, Yao Ming first helped Chinese NT capture the Asian Championships in Harbin, so they can go to Athens next year. Two years ago in Shanghai, Yao Ming was already the MVP of Asian Championships, but he didn't play in the NBA so not everyone was looking at him the way they do now, like he's half the Chinese NT. The old coach of the NT, Jiang Xingquan, wouldn't admit that he has put Yao Ming as the nucleus of the team. Yao Ming said: "I agree, nobody can just call a person nucleus. A nucleus has to form naturally. If a person has the ability, and everyone else thinks he is, then he is the nucleus."

In the night scene of the


Last edited by sinobball on Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:26 pm
User avatarPosts: 1991Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 1:55 pm
[foreword, continued)
Yao Ming and His Beliefs on the Road
Image

When he decided to take off the Nike shoes he wore for 6 years and change them to Reebok, it was 2 days before the Asian Championships.

It was a hard decision. At that time the Chinese team was already occupied in Harbin. In those two days, Yao Ming's voice on the telephone always sounded very deep, nothing could spurred his enthusiasm. He said: "Don't talk to me about this, don't make any comments. I told everyone else the same thing: Nobody should bother me, let me make the final decision myself.

Because he had a long relationship with Nike. In 1997, when Yao Ming first came to the scene, he was bony and couldn't take a blow, many people thought he sucks. But Nike China CEO Lu Hairui was determined he would develop into a big thing with a bright future, so he supported him unfalteringly. Nike sent Yao Ming to Europe, and then to America. When Yao Ming was still a kid, Nike's first deal with him was 120 thousand RMB (Note: 8RMB is about 1USD) a year. To Yao Ming today, 120 thousand RMB is nothing but ash, but water starts from a fountain, a person should not forget the favors he received. Although after Lu Hairui left Nike, Nike was conservative in resigning with Yao Ming, but Yao Ming did not forget what they did to help him.

When Nike competed with Reebok, Yao Ming said: "I have a limit set in my mind. If the two's offers differ in less than 5 million USD, I will choose Nike."

Then he should sign Nike, so why was he hesitating in the race between the two companies that lasted for several months? Actually, Yao Ming almost made the decision, Nike almost won Yao Ming, which means also the future China and NBA supermarket.

An insider who had participated in the shoe deal race said: "At that circumstance, Nike almost acquired Yao Ming's words. They wrote the detailed offer, and they handed the documents to Yao Ming. You can almost say, they've passed through Yao Ming. However, in the last minute, they found problems in one of the articles in the deal. I can't confirm whether the problem was intentional or just due to neglect, but it eventually caused Nike losing the almost-won battle of Yao Ming."

Eric Zhang Mingji, Head of Team Yao which dealt with Yao's many issues, said: "I have to say, Nike's performance was very professional in the whole race. But they neglected something during the final stage."

When Yao Ming made the decision, he said: "It's not a matter of money. You can give me less money, but you have to face me honestly." When he was making that decision, he seemed sad but determined.

At that time, all Nike Beijing Ltd. staff, led by the former 110 meter hurdle star Li Tong, stayed in Harbin, to act on the instructions from Nike headquarters in Portland instantly. An insider said, when Yao Ming told Nike he would sign with Reebok, Nike Headquarters were very shocked. Losing Yao Ming meant losing the entire Chinese market and future development in China. They began their last struggle, they handed Yao Ming their second offer. He said: "The second offer was so large you couldn't have imagined. Nike right now has two superstars Lebron James and Kobe Bryant, but the offer to Yao Ming was equal to Lebron James + 2/3 of Kobe Bryant."

This offer was really rare. In fact, the offer Reebok signed with Yao Ming was only about 40% of Nike's 2nd offer. The Reebok deal also had a condition on whether to extend Yao Ming's contract in the 7th year. And it's not an easy task---in the next 7 years Yao Ming had to appear in the All-Star Game at least 3 times in order to renew the Reebok contract. In contrast, Nike's offer was much higher and without any conditions.

In an evening in Harbin, an employer in Nike China called me: "What the headquarter wanted is, it doesn't matter how much they pay, they'll have to make Yao Ming change his decision. We offered him such high price, do you think it's useful?"

I said: "Too late already."

Yao Ming eventually didn't look back for money. On the second night the Asian Championships started, ESPN first told the world that Yao Ming had signed with Reebok.

Yao Ming smiled: "You know, I as a person, would rather have something to spur me forward, than having to sit back at the same place for a pile of money." In his room, he held on Reebok shoe with his left hand, a famous Nike YAO11 with his right, and he sighed lightly. "Nike looks good, Reebok feels good." He said, "I'd rather choose the comfortable one, it's more actual."

Eric Zhang Mingji later told me, "On the matter of money, I really admire Yao Ming's standards. If it were me, that big a lure, I probably wouldn't have done that (what Yao Ming did.)"

Eric Zhang then continued: "Actually it's very difficult to negotiate these things for Yao Ming. Facing such decisions, I don't think a normal delegation or a top level of a business can adopt the standards Yao MIng possesses. He's just such an idealist, almost to the point of a Utopian. But we also think he's very simple, and never forgets a friend, so we hope we can continue this relationship. Because there's no cap on money, Yao Ming is more concerned with things other than money."

Yao Ming doesn't look like a superstar with a million-dollar worth.

A long time ago, when Yao Ming was still duking off with Wang Zhizhi in the CBA, Wang Zhizhi once said this to me: "Everybody changes. When a person is born, he has a personality, a goal, and a belief. But many times the society and the environment around you doesn't allow it, so you're slowly being refined, when all your angles have been polished, you don't have so many things that you uphold in your heart. For example you are a writer, in the future there will be things that you can't write about; some things you want to do, but you can't."

Three years from that time forward. But now Yao Ming is still not "polished".


Last edited by sinobball on Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:58 pm
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Yao Ming and His Friends on the Road
Image

Every person has his friends, but good friends are rare. This may be even more true on Yao Ming, since he's 7-6, it's even hard to stretch your neck all the time, not even mentioning a good friend that talks about everything?

Liu Wei, Fan Bin, Sha Yifeng, and his two coaches Li Qiuping and Wang Fei, have all made marks in Yao Ming's development. But as Yao Ming went to the west and became a world-famous icon, the distance will slowly appear between them.

The closest friend of Yao Ming's is Liu Wei. The two had been together since the age of 14, but they still live in the same room, eat together and play video games together. But the days in Shanghai's basketball team have remained only in history. Liu Wei is still the point guard of the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks, and received his personal-best statistics by leading the team without Yao Ming. But the defending champion didn't make the playoffs in the last CBA season; while Yao Ming's Rockets have improved dramatically.

One time, NBA specifically set up a camera in the Men's apartments of Shanghai Meilong Sports Unit. As Yao Ming looked unstoppable on TV, Liu Wei sat on his bed in his familiar apartment, watching while eating noodles from a bowl.

Maybe this bowl of noodles tells the taste of life.

During the summer, when the NT played an exhibition game in Hefei, I asked an old lady selling posicles: "Do you know who Yao Ming is?" The old lady nodded. I also once told a fan waiting for Yao Ming's autographs before the Xin-an International Hotel where the NT lived: "Yao Ming lived in the same room as Liu Wei." He asked me: "Which team does Liu Wei play for?"

About a year and 4 months later, Shanghai's one and only basketball champion that Yao Ming and Liu Wei fought so hard to get, has already disappeared in people's memories.

On that day in Hefei, I took my girlfriend's cousins to get Yao Ming's pictures and autographs. When they finished a picture with Yao Ming, I asked: "Would you all take a picture with Liu Wei?" My girlfriend's cousin, a high school kid who doesn't watch basketball often nor knows who Liu Wei is, even replied: "Fine with me, we have enough film after all." Liu Wei heard it, shook his head, and would not take a picture with them. I quickly took the two kids away. Later Liu Wei got angry in the room.

I knew Liu Wei felt frustruated. He should be. Yao Ming also did, because Liu Wei and him were close like brothers.

I knew, this kid didn't think before he spoke, but he was just a kid. He didn't understand the society, so he didn't speak properly. In his eyes, this Liu Wei guy has nothing to do with Yao Ming. This is also how many people look at the world.

In an evening before going to Wenzhou, Yao Ming contacted me to talk about the elders like Hu Weidong and Gong Xiaobin. All of sudden the door opened. When he opened the door, it was Fan Bin.

Fan Bin was carrying a bag of balls. "Sign for me," he said, so Yao Ming picked up his pen and signed. Then he said: "Big Fan, I can't sign those Spaldings balls from now on, I already signed with UpperDeck, so I can't sign balls of other brands." Fan Bin agreed vaguely, and when Yao's done, he opened the door and took the bag of balls away with him. When Yao was in the CBA, every time Bayi finished playing with Shanghai, Yao Ming would go eat with Fan Bin; when the two were in the Chinese NT, Yao had also carried the bag for Fan Bin.

Later when I joked with Fan Bin I brought this up, Fan Bin quickly replied: "That was before, why are you still mentioning this. He's a superstar now, if I still let him carry my bags, then ain't I a little too strong?"

When he left the States and returned to Shanghai, Yao Ming was already feeling a little higher than everyone else. After dinner at the Peace Hotel in (Shanghai's) Outer Banks with Liu Wei and Sha Yifeng, Yao Ming phoned me and said: "Since I played basketball to this level, I feel others are more and more drawn away from me. I was watching "Emperor Kangxi" these days, I feel like I'm the Emperor Kangxi, at the end nobody dared to take the land from me, but I'm also the only one staying."

Actually, changes in friendship due to changes in status, from the ancient times, who can avoid this? Yao Ming has really changed from before, but many things are just feelings. What has changed the most is actually status, and not feelings itself.

Yao Ming cherishes his friends and teammates, he's also even careful at times. In Beijing, he once went to eat roasted beef with Guo Shiqiang, Liu Wei, Xue Yuyang and Jiao Jian. When it was time to pay the bill, Yao Ming took money from his wallet, he said he


Last edited by sinobball on Thu Mar 11, 2004 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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