Yao’s Life in Two Worlds
Posted Oct 1 2004 4:42PM
Rockets center releases autobiography, meets with media
Yao Ming was recently at the NBA Store in New York, promoting his new autobiography, "Yao: A Life in Two Worlds," which was written by ESPN the Magazine's Ric Bucher. While there, Yao and Bucher met with the media and talked about everything from the upcoming China Games to the long, tall shadow of Shaq. NBA.com was there to ask both of them a few questions. Here's what Yao and Bucher had to say:
You're participating in a Read to Achieve event at your old primary school during the China Games. How important is that event to you?
Yao: "I hope they can feel the passion of the Chinese fans."
What do you expect the atmosphere to be for those games?
What are your expectations for the Chinese national team in the 2008 Olympic Games?
With Shaquille O'Neal in the East, how will it be different in the West?*
How difficult is it for a young player in Shanghai to become a Yao Ming? Are the resources there?*
By adding Tracy McGrady, do you think you're contenders for a title?*
Do you realize that you're also an agent for social change and more than just a basketball player. Does that weigh on you at all?*
What kind of reception will Yao get in his hometown of Shanghai?
"And on top of that, they're not used to celebrity. We've been talking about this. Here [in the U.S.], and he's mentioned it, when he says, "Can you give me a minute? People respect that space.
"When I was over there with him and we were walking through airports, it was like a locust attack. There's no such thing as personal space. There's no such thing as respecting the celebrity. It's Yao Ming, I want to climb that tree.
"And this whole thing in Shanghai, the pride is going to be unbelievable."
What do think the atmosphere will be like for the games?
What do you think his teammates will get out of this trip?
"I also think they'll get a sense of the overwhelming number of people and the pride that they take in [Yao]. Even as big as Jordan was here, there's nothing here that compares to what [Yao] means to them."
What do you think Yao will get out of this trip?
"I think for him, it's going to come home to him what part is Chinese and what part of him is American. He is going to be going home. He is going to feel that love, but he is going to be coming home as a guy who plays for the Houston Rockets. That's who he's going to be with. People over there are going to see him embraced by his new family and I think he's going to feel that. And I think he's going to realize, I'm at least half-and-half, whereas before he considered himself more Chinese than American."
How important is it for the NBA to play games in China?
"But, you know, as people, the experience that Yao Ming and I have had in writing the book. We've had a good time. We can joke around. Our sense of humor and the things we like to do are similar."
He seems to be a wry fellow
"They've watched NBA basketball for a number of years [in China], but they need to see NBA players walking down the street and see what they look like in person, how they behave and how they interact.
"I dare say, I hope the NBA players understand that. Whether they like it or not, for a lot of Chinese people, they may be the first American person they see in person. That impression, whatever that impression, will be their impression of what an American is. Hopefully, they'll take that into consideration."