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 continue to eclipse the All-Star record for most votes, making him the starting center for the Western Conference for the fourth consecutive year. And thanks to his 19.7 points and 9.0 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 Ming (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty)

How did it feel to be the leading vote getter this year?
Yao: It is a great honor. I know that the Chinese people are big basketball fans now and they played a big part in my votes.

How are you looking forward to playing against?
Yao: Shaq. We don’t get to play against one another very often.

Why do you like playing in the All-Star game?
Yao: I think the best is that the All-Star (Game) is not about shooting free-throws.

Is that a message to the referees?
Yao: That’s not a question for me.

How tough was last night’s game and how hard is it heading into the break on that note?
Yao: It’s really tough. We played pretty well over the last ten years. We’re looking forward to get back into the playoff race. Yesterday was a step back for us. We just gave up a game.

What happened defensively last night?
Yao: I don’t know. We’ll have to look at the film after the weekend. They kept getting into the paint and hitting their outside shots.

What is it like having the All-Star Game in your town?
Yao: I know where I can find fun because this is my home town.

Are you getting use to the media attention?
Yao: Yeah, it’s getting a lot easier. You just get use to it.

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