Rockets center Yao Ming is an international superstar. Not only is he recognized as one of the game's greatest players today, but this year he also eclipsed the All-Star record for most votes with 2,558,278, making him the starting center for the Western Conference for the third consecutive year. And thanks to his 18.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, the 7-6 center from Shanghai, China is also helping the Rockets reach new heights this season as they make a spirited run for the playoffs.

Yao took time out during NBA All-Star 2005 to answer your e-mail questions.

First of all, congratulations for being a starter for 3 consecutive years. This time you're up against Shaq. All eyes are on both of you. How do you deal with him? This match-up is tough. Do you feel any pressure?
-- Yuri from Cebu, Philippines

Yao poses for a portrait during NBA All-Star 2005.
Jennifer Pottheiser//NBAE/Getty Images
Yao: " I always look forward to competing with him. Heís definitely the most dominant center in the league. I always have my hands full with him, but itís always a great experience and a great test."

What has been the hardest change for you to come from the chinese basketball team to come play in the NBA?
-- Brandon from Katy, Texas

Yao: "In terms of my own improvement, the most important thing has been my speed. I think speed is really becoming an important aspect of the NBA. In terms of the differences in other countries, there are differences, but itís still basketball and the objectives are the same."

Hi Yao, how do you manage to maintain calmness under the pressure, when you know so many are watching?
-- Ben from Vancouver, Canada

Yao: "I do my best to concentrate on basketball, and that helps me relax throughout the weekend."

Do you feel you have lived up to expectations so far as a player or do you think you could be a more dominant player than you are right now?
-- Joey from Blairstown, New Jersey

Yao: "All I can do is try to prove myself. Iíve learned that my method of playing basketball is little different from how itís done here."