Watching Yao Ming play

We saw Yao Ming’s Houston Rockets play at Chicago United Center before Christmas. Houston won. The seats we got were pretty high up, and they were not cheap. Those athletes earn way too much money.

I haven’t watched sports for a while. Judging from this game and one I watched last week on TV while on the road, I agree with John’s analysis at YaoMingMania.com. The Rockets should definitely start Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks. Scola is an energy player with great hustle for loose balls and rebounds, both offensive and defensive. Brooks is very quick and has better judgment and decision-making than the current starting point guard, Rafer Alston. Tracy McGrady needs to be a better team player or else he needs to be traded, and everybody should work hard to let Yao get touches. When offense runs through Yao Ming, good things happen! By the way, if John gets this through trackback, thank you so much for your terrific job at YaoMingMania.com!

Here is a great article on Yao Ming from Sport Illustrated. (Sports Illustrated, like almost all magazines, produces nothing but junk nowadays, that piece is an exception, a rare breath of fresh air.)

We saw Yao Ming play at United Center
We waited for a while by the section next to the aisle leading to the court during pre-game warmup, hoping to get Yao Ming’s signature. He didn’t come out. As the game time drew near, the security guard shooed us away.

We saw Yao Ming play at United Center

Man, I miss pickup basketball games. I used to play pickup basketball almost daily since middle school. There are always basketball courts in schools or working units. Most outdoor courts in schools are open to the public. It was easy to find an open court and play during my days in China. I hope it is still the case today. Frankly, I found it harder to do it here in the US, where this great sport was invented, since in most cases you will have to join a gym to gain access, or sign up for some kind of league. A lot of leagues, like American culture in general, put way too much focus on competition that they turn me off. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to win, but having fun in the process is much more important than the final results.

I gather some adults play basketball at their churches, but I don’t go to church. I long for the day when we can own a house, where I can setup a hoop of my own and play with my son. Hopefully it will come soon.

Don’t know much about another Chinese NBA player, Yi Jianlian. I am happy that he, along with Jet Li (Li Lianjie), help the masses learn how to pronounce i in Pinyin, because my last name is Ji. Yi Jianlian’s nickname is A’Lian, which sounds like the word alien. Some people have commented that he plays like one! From limited highlights I saw on YouTube, he looks very good.

3 thoughts on “Watching Yao Ming play”

  1. I think his translator, Colin Pine, really helped. Pine is a fluent Chinese speaker. I believed he learned Chinese in Taiwan. In fact, I could tell that in Pine’s Mandarin. He worked at the State Department before he took the job as Yao’s assistant. He is not working for Yao now.

    From the documentary I saw, he seemed to be a guy that understands both cultures well, and really helped Yao overcome the initial language and cultural barriers. Yao bonded well with his teammates, that must have helped too. Yao is really a smart, well-rounded guy.

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