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Yao Now Red Cow

By jjayson in Culture
Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:20:40 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

The face of professional basketball is turning into a veritable Joseph's coat of race. Dr Naismith would be proud. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) claims there are now 211 affiliated national federations with 400 million participants worldwide. As leagues pervade the globe, players are coming in droves to America to play in the NBA.

This season, there are 66 international players, from 34 countries and territories, on team rosters, more than ever before. Just looking at the NBA rosters you would think that you were staring at a list of United Nations delegates. The Dallas Mavericks alone enlisted six international players from three continents. This year marked the first time ever an international player was selected first in the NBA draft. Call him whatever you want — Chairman Yao, The Ming Dynasty, or Yo! — but he is about to give the NBA and corporations an entry into the largest market on the planet.

And this is all related to US soccer.

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comments (24)
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The (Inter?)National Basketball Association

At the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, the United States basketball team had its worst finish ever, losing three games — to Argentina, Yugoslavia, and Spain — to finish 6th. This comes on the heels of America's soccer team advancing to the quarterfinals at the 2002 World Cup and its consequent 9th place international ranking, ahead of perennial powerhouse Italy.

Basketball is beginning to resemble the international soccer stage, where nation versus nation competition draws the top talent, and just as for league soccer play, where Europe gets the strongest players, the NBA is the same. Every year sees more international players entering the NBA but returning back to their respective national teams when it is time, taking back with them valuable talent, knowledge of the game and their opponents, and experience. Eighteen of the US national soccer team's best players come from the European ranks. Just as the college game is a farm for professional players, the international leagues have become the same. Most NBA clubs are setting their sights abroad, not just to fill roster spots, but looking for the next All Star or franchise player, and they are willing to spend those precious lottery picks on international talent, too. This draw is also detrimental to the European game, though. Just as the America's major soccer league, MLS, sees its best players depart for Europe, like Kasey Keller and Joe-Max Moore (thankfully Landon Donovan has been retained for two more years), the talent drain leaves other leagues starving for those game changing players.

These imported players are not without impact, either. Retired Nigerian-born Hakeem Olajuwon was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. Tim Duncan, from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player. The 2001-02 Rookie of the Year was Spain's Pau Gasol. Congolese Dikembe Mutombo, Canadian Steve Nash, German Dirk Nowitzki, and Yugoslavian Peja Stojakovich were all selected as 2002 All-Stars. They have also shown that they will draw their hometown crowds, pulling fans from great distances to watch them play. Fans from Chihuahua, Mexico bussed 17 hours to support local-born Dallas Maverick Eduardo Najera.

The NBA has even stretched to the most unlikely of all places, the Middle East. The Lakers now have game commentators that speak Farsi and broadcast back to the homes and shops of Iran. It is only a matter of time until a Persian or Arab Rookie of the Year, and the impact that could have on cultural views are incalculable, in the same way Jackie Robinson changed an increasingly integrated America.

The Internet shows the same story of global expansion. Over 40% of NBA.com's traffic now comes from outside the United States, and the league is even launching a Chinese version of their web site due to the high demand. NBA All-Star ballots can be cast in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Just looking at merchandising numbers, you would have no idea that America's economy was stumbling along. Worldwide sales in 2002 were up 35% to $1.8 billion, and a similar increase is expected this year, almost entirely attributed to international sales and players.

By the same mechanism that the US climbs the international soccer ladder, it slides down the international basketball ladder. A 6th place American basketball team and a 9th ranked American soccer team are inextricably linked. The only question now is how long before a player from across the ocean or from a different continent will wrap the NBA around his finger and be ruler... enter Yao Ming and his dynasty.

Chairman Yao

Yao, 22, bolted from China's Shanghai Sharks last year to join the NBA. Being picked first by the Houston Rockets marked the premiere time that an international player took top honors in the NBA draft. In the post-Jordan era of the NBA, Yao is the poster child of what the NBA is to become: a global sport filled with ever younger players.

"I think Yao Ming is like the new Bruce Lee," Tang Yinjie, a graduate student from Shanghai, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "He introduced some new ideas to the American people." The culture he brings out of people and places is unheard of. At many NBA arenas that Yao plays at, the host team is trying to make him feel at home and draw more Asian fans by proffering familiar Chinese food and culture. Some have special food at concession stands and others schedule martial arts and dance exhibitions before the game and at half-time. In Houston, you can enjoy a foot long egg roll while drinking a Chinese beer during the game.

Yao already has a huge fan base, too. The NBA has not wasted any time in trying to capitalize, either. Two fans of Yao traveled from Beijing to Orlando for Disney and explicitly for Yao's game against the Magic. When they saw dragons dancing on the court the wife asked, "That's not normal, is it?" The NBA is working on deals with six television networks across China to broadcast games: 30 of Yao's NBA games, and more than 150 games total, will be transmitted across China this year. In his television debut he reached 287 million households, but with the new deals this number is expected to reach 400 million (almost four times as many television households as in the States). On December 5, Yao gave a 1 1/2 hour online chat on the Chinese Internet portal Sohu.com where almost nine million people logged on. It produced so much traffic that it brought packets to a halt in six of China's largest cities.

"People in mainland China are very anxious for Yao to succeed," Frenzen said. "A lot of them are afraid he might fail. It wasn't until he found his legs in the NBA that you really found an expressed ground swell for Yao Ming in China. Can you think of many equivalents, where a Chinese athlete has gone to America and played an American game against the most visible athletes in the world? And think about what's happened in China [politically] over the last 20 years."

Be Part of Something Big

The Rockets' marketing slogan this year is "Be Part of Something Big," but nobody knew Yao would be this big, this quickly. However, there was advanced preparation for when this might happen.

Yao's first contact with Nike came at a party thrown for the local Shanghai Sharks. As the players came in, nobody looked very impressive, except a teenage 7-foot-3 Yao Ming. Terry Rhodes of Nike quickly took notice. The only bad part was that Yao was wearing Adidas shoes. After a few calls back to Nike headquarters, Yao was wearing size-18s made expressly for Alonzo Mourning.

When Yao was still playing in Shanghai, he called his cousin Erik Zhang, a student at the University of Chicago's graduate school of business, asking where he could find shoes. This set Zhang's mind in motion, and he involved the deputy dean of the business school, John Huizinga, now one of Yao's agents. Jonathan Frenzen, a clinical professor of marketing, organized a 10-student class that became an integral part of Yao's group advisers, called Team Yao. The student team produced a 175-page report that included an Excel spreadsheet to help evaluate which of Yao's endorsement possibilities would fit his personality, forward his image, and keep his credibility.

The Excel branding calculator that Team Yao created has three parts: information on the product category, on the company, and what Yao himself thinks of it. It will determine how societies view the product, company, and how it reflects on Yao and his personal brand. Adding that to the subjective comments of what Yao and his marketers think, if the score is high enough, then it could be a good product for Yao to endorse. "The calculator really surprised us," Zhang said. "It gives us a precise framework to do evaluations and they've provided us with the tools to adjust to future changes." BDA Sports Management advisor Bill Sanders adds, "The calculator will never be more important than the judgment of the people we have assembled, but it allows us to look at every deal in that business school type of analysis, which is very important."

The report concludes that subsequent advertising should then reflect one of Yao's key personality traits: dard-working, self-confident, respectful, talented, heroic or charismatic/light-hearted. A cell phone game seemed to be a good first match. Sorrent's Yao Ming Basketball was the first endorsement deal signed after arriving in America. Yao says that he is an avid gamer but plays mostly adventure, not sports, games and that he bought three cell phones in the last year. The Sorrent deal is typical of what other deals may follow.

Even though Yao has been working on his English, he still needs a translator. "His endorsement possibilities are limited by his English skills," Williams said. "And while the Apple ad works [with Yao not speaking], how many times can you do that?" In the Visa ad he is limited to saying his own name and "Can I write a check for this?" while holding a cast Statue of Liberty. Yao's biggest potential upside may lie with where he came from. Frenzen and a colleague went to China for two weeks to conduct 14 focus groups, recording everything diligently, to see what Yao's product would look like over there. The report says that Yao's target market should be "the 460 million kids, parents and yuppies" that are China's already Yao-friendly urban population. Frenzen said that a handful of companies looking to market themselves in China have asked about enlisting Yao's help. Sorrent's game will be available for wireless device download in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. There are 200 million cell phone users in China, compared to 120 million in the US. With numbers like these, it is no shock that American businesses want Yao's help to climb into China's brobdingnagian market.

Yao is taking top billing, too. His latest advertisement was a Visa commercial that premiered during the Super Bowl. He is also being featured in the "Got Milk?" campaign, but Yao has already made it clear that he does not want to be a novelty and has turned down other offers, including one advertisement that would have him wearing a cowboy hat. The Visa spot allowed Yao to be Yao, while the Sorrent endorsement is something that Yao likes to do. He is also known to stock his refridgerator with Starbucks Frappuccinos, and there are rumors of Yao meeting with Starbucks chairman and Seattle Sonics owner Howard Shultz, but Shultz denies a meeting has ever happened.

"For [the] Chinese, he is a symbol of modernization and professionalization in the sporting industry, but he also has this incredible political symbolism ... the ability of Chinese to go out and compete in the world," claims Steven Lewis, a Rice University Asia expert, who also advises the Rockets.

Adding to his Sorrent, milk, Apple, and Visa spots is a shoe and apparel Nike deal that was penned before he even came to America. The actual numbers of these are undisclosed, but Bob Williams, the president of Burns Sports Management, estimates the Nike deal in the "low seven figures" a year. With Yao's four-year $17.8 million Rockets contract, Williams estimates Yao should be pulling in about $6 million a year (compared to the $40 million of Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods).

Coming to America

However, Yao's deal to come play in the NBA is complex, and originally he was to only receive about half of his earnings. In April of 1992, the Chinese government reinstated a rule that they used to apply to table tennis players who left to play outside of China: half of the athlete's earnings were to go to the player and his team and the other half was to go to the government to dole out to various government sports entities. In the final deal, the payment back to the Chinese government and his old team was not as severe as first laid out. Now, the pay scale depends on how long Yao stays in the NBA: if Yao returns to China within three years, the Sharks get nothing; if he plays up to 12 years, they will get $8 million; and if Yao stays longer, they will get up to $15 million. This is far from the original $40 million that they wanted. Also, 5% of Yao's earnings will go to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). China also received guarantees that Yao will attend important off-season practices, international games, and the Olympics. In return, the government will not nag the Rockets about further commitments. This was a determinative accession, as Wang Zhizhi, the first CBA player to skip off to the NBA two years ago, has since refused to return to China to play for the national team.

On top of that, the New York Times reported that the Rockets paid the Sharks $350,000 for Yao's rights. Li Yaomin, the Sharks vice general manager defends, "We cultivated him, taught him to be a star. Yao Ming is China's [Michael] Jordan. We don't want to lose him." In Mr Zhang's more Americanized view "Chinese colleges are heavily subsidized, but do they demand a payback if you become successful — a Nobel Prize winner, a rich businessman?" Also, Yao wasn't just important to US and Chinese basketball. His story was even used by China's US ambassador, Yang Jiechi, as an example of "constructive engagement" between the nations. The Chinese are trying to use Yao to develop better relations, preparing for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

At least the Chinese government has not limited the amount or type of endorsements Yao could do, and the Sharks only get a set fee from his earnings and do not get any percentage of each endorsement he chooses to do. After paying everybody off back for his training, he still gets $3 million. Well, maybe not. Before all that, the American government takes their cut, too.

Can I Write a Check for This?

Everybody around Yao knows that his off-court success is largely dependant on his on-court success. Yao also knows this. "I feel a lot of pressure on me," Yao said through his interpreter. "But I feel it every day. I am used to it. It is a bit of a burden on me, but I have to realize it's a responsibility I have to shoulder."

Yao wouldn't be the first big man to come up short. He didn't score in his NBA debut, and many hoops pundits and fans were quick to heap on the doubt. In the first few games of the season, many said he looked lost on the court. The comparisons to other paper giants like Sean Bradley, George Muresean, and hockey sensation Manute Bol rolled in. Yao may share his height with them, but he plays like a man a foot shorter. While these other trees were saplings with twigs for legs, Yao is said to have some of the largest thighs in the league, which was evident when he blocked Shaquille O'Neil's first three shots in their first meeting. "There aren't too many guys who made me feel short," said 7-foot-1 David Robinson after getting a taste of Yao. "He made me feel short and small." Yao's success can be attributed to his great knowledge of the game and his studying the moves of Olajuwon and Arvydas Sabonis.

Ex-NBA superstar and now commentator Charles Barkley was so sure that Yao wouldn't break out in the league that on national television he bet co-commentator Kenny Smith that he would kiss his ass if Yao ever scored 20 points in a game. It is almost as if Yao hears his detractors. In his 8th NBA game, he shot 8 for 8 from the floor, scoring 20 points against the Shaq-less Los Angeles Lakers. On the next show, Kenny Smith brought a mule on stage and Barkley hesitantly kissed the animals backside. It might not have been that humiliating, except for the clip finding time on virtually every sports show across the nation.

Then the battle of the two tallest men in the NBA came along when the Rockets met Dallas, and Yao had a chance to prove himself against 7-foot-6 Sean Bradley. Yao dropped 30 points on Bradley with 16 rebounds showing that there is no comparison. His detractors still (rightfully) claimed that he has not faced any good centers. Then Yao traveled to San Antonio to take on the Spurs big men Tim Duncan and David Robinson, he laid out 27 points and picked up 18 rebounds on the duo. At that point is was hard to argue against Stuart Scott's nightly SportsCenter clamoring, "Yao Ming has arrived! Yao Ming has arrived!"

Yao isn't just content with that either. Despite limited English skills Yao has been a fast learner. To get his first technical in the NBA, Yao blocked a shot by Theo Ratliff and was called for taunting. Ratliff quipped, "They're teaching him too much down there." Also, it being an insult to dunk on somebody in China, he had to be coaxed into finishing strong. During the Lakers matchup with Shaq, Frenzen said that when Yao dunked on the other big man, the crowd in the bar in China he was at jumped up in cheers, including 80-year old men, but those in China already knew this would happen. They were just waiting for a confirmation sign, and what signs he has been delivering for all to see. Yao was even the first Chinese player to have his number retired; the Shanghai Sharks lofted his #15 jersey in the rafters when he left.

Making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, Yao is leading All Star voting for centers, well above Shaq. Many attribute this to the online voting where the billion person China is seen as an unbeatable force. However, Yao is also leading the paper balloting that is available only in the United States. Jerry Brewer of the Orlando Sentinel says that "Once he figures out his teammates — and vice versa — domination will occur."

And once Yao dominates, American corporate and NBA influence in the billion person market are sure to follow.


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Related Links
o list of United Nations delegates
o 50 Greatest Players in NBA History
o Jackie Robinson changed an increasingly integrated America
o Chinese version of their web site
o quick to heap on the doubt
o Also by jjayson

Display: Sort:
Yao Now Red Cow | 58 comments (36 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
Oh my GOD! (3.11 / 9) (#2)
by jabber on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 01:16:06 PM EST

[sarcasm intensity="high"]
Are you suggesting that there's money to be made in perpetuating people's awareness of race and racial differences?!

Holy crap!

Someone call the racial rights police and the crack tiger team of Jackson, Sharpton and Farrakhan. We must nip this inequity in the bud. The NBA is too legit to put up with it!

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

hehe (4.33 / 4) (#9)
by Wah on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 03:32:08 PM EST

Someone call the racial rights police and the crack tiger team of Jackson, Sharpton and Farrakhan.

Yea, call 'em up and tell them that they now are the unelected, self-appointed leaders of a minor minority.

And your sarcasm was totally lost on me.  There's money to be made since 4 times as many people will watch Yao on TV in China as there are TV's in the U.S.  
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Warning: Biting(?) Scarcasm Below (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by mcherm on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 06:46:21 AM EST

4 times as many people will watch Yao on TV in China as there are TV's in the U.S.

Yes, there's lots of 'em, but they don't have as much disposble income as Americans, so they don't matter.

-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]

it doesn't matter (none / 0) (#41)
by jjayson on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:33:28 PM EST

Even without disposable income, they will watch the NBA and Yao. Team Yao, his marketing group, has determined that there are "460 million kids, parents and yuppies" in China's urban abd suburban locations that have enough money to play to make it worth while. Also, for some things like cell phones, they dwarft the US, having 200 million operational. It is clearly just a matter of what the product is.
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Spoken as a true beneficiary of white privilege. (4.00 / 7) (#20)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:08:58 PM EST

The fact that the society that you live in is set up in such a way that you can live for days at a time without you and others seeing yourself as an ethnic other does not extend to all ethnic groups in your society, no matter how much you, out of a combination of privilege and convenience, would like to pretend so.

[ Parent ]

Whatever (2.00 / 3) (#26)
by jabber on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 07:23:47 PM EST

Maybe I'll believe that after I lose my accent and turn in my green card.

Until then, BZZZT! Thank you for playing.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

you're an idiot (3.00 / 2) (#31)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:39:02 PM EST

this is all about positive cross-cultural interaction. there is no negative to it.

you are an old, tired crank if you think your sarcasm has any value. not everything in life needs a kneejerk negative backlash. sucks to be you right now.
C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness
[ Parent ]

Oh yes. (none / 0) (#45)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:23:01 PM EST

I'm all for inter-racial interaction, but only as long as niggers are not involved.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Globalization through the Gym Door (4.50 / 5) (#11)
by Wah on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:12:38 PM EST

I got to see Yao the other day at a Rockets - Mavericks game.  There was a sizable Yao contingent there, bringing out a part of our country that has been mostly silent since they build our railroads.  This included folks selling unlicensed (for shame!) t-shirts in the parking lot.  Demand was so high that at least one vendor sold out and was seen walking back to the car for more shirts, after the game.

As mentioned in the article, this particular contest featured players from Canada, Mexico, Germany, and China.  The Mavs have also recently picked up a Frenchie, like the one that plays in San Antonio.

This is one of the benefits of globalization, IMHO, in that we get a chance to be introduced to the finer aspects of worldwide cultures in small, athletic doses.  While the U.S. has a long history of welcoming foreign scientists (well, until recently...) our exposure to foreign personalities in general, and specifically, foreign heroes has been limited.  The mass appeal of these types of people, especially their appeal to those that aren't going to spend a lot of time studying the latest scientific developments.   And it stands as a telling argument that not only is there a nice big world out there, but that it is filled with people who can compete on the same level as us at our game.

Many people (not from the U.S.) on this site have mentioned in the past how our culture is very self-obsessed and few Americans are consistently cognizant of the world outside our own borders.  The continued internationalization of sports is a great way to introduce a new generation of Americans (and the old ones) that, golly, there really are worthwhile people who were born in different countries.  Anway, its pretty much a win-win situation, and should be encouraged, IMHO.

+1 FP

The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...

too long, america centric, basketball (1.54 / 11) (#12)
by gray on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:20:45 PM EST

Where is the much praised but endagered creature culture? This is sport or did I miss your point? I don't understand it, so at least I am not voting it down.

k5, being what it is, (3.00 / 1) (#16)
by twistedfirestarter on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:51:43 PM EST

has no sport topic, so I suppose culture is where it gets put

[ Parent ]
America-centric? (4.66 / 3) (#19)
by jjayson on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:00:11 PM EST

did you happen to miss the point of the article: global exapansion?
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
Them Arabs (3.33 / 6) (#17)
by shoeboy on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 04:56:47 PM EST

It is only a matter of time until a Persian or Arab Rookie of the Year

Isn't Osama bin Laden like 6'5" or something? Anyone know what kind of hops he's got?

Seriously, your "it's only a matter of time" prediction is unlikely to come true in the next 50 years. Right now it's questionable whether Yao Ming will beat out Amare Stoudamire for Rookie of the year.

Right now, the middle eastern powerhouses are Turkey and Israel (both consider themselves European). The nearest Arab team is Lebanon and they aren't even close.

To produce a Rookie of the Year, you need solid coaches at every level, which no Arab state has, nor does Iran.

You need proper weight training and conditioning facilities which also aren't there. Basketball players need dramatically different workout and weight training regimens than other athletes.

Basically the odds are stacked against the Arab world and Iran. China was only able to succeed because they have a tremendous national athletic program and a billion potential players. Even so, Yao's lack of proper weight training and conditioning is obvious and the Chinese are still a long ways off from producing a decent 1, 2 or 3.

No more trolls!

Wow. I'll wait for the Reader's Digest version. (2.83 / 6) (#21)
by dr zeus on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 05:12:24 PM EST

This is the king of long articles. Maybe you should divide it up, and submit it as a two part series?

Then again, I don't know if K5 is much of a basketball oriented site.

Yao will do wonders, god bless him (4.00 / 4) (#32)
by circletimessquare on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 08:59:42 PM EST

Like the Jackie Robinson allusion in the article above to interracial domestic relations in America two generations ago, Yao is the greatest thing that could possibly happen to SinoAmerican relations. Sports is all about the soul of a country. Soccer matches in Europe replace border wars. The visceral evils of Nationalism get eaten up in sports matches, rather than on the battlefield. Sports are a wonderful way to devour violent international passions that would know no other outlet.

The Hainan Island incident of 2001 moved the US and China away from each other, and marked a low point. Spetember 11th moved China and the US closer together in recognition of a common enemy: the rise of international militant fundamentalist Islam. But this is only on a political level. Yao will do more to move these two countries together in the hearts of the two countries than an army of diplomats could ever hope to achieve in a decade.

The most powerful nation in the world and the soon-to-be most powerful nation in the world do not need to spill their nationalist idiotic passions on the battlefield. They can do it on the basketball court. God bless Chairman Yao.

C:\>tracert life.liberty.pursuit-of-happiness

Who's getting it at the line? (2.00 / 2) (#33)
by medham on Wed Feb 05, 2003 at 09:28:38 PM EST


The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Surely this is a joke (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by drizzy on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:55:54 AM EST

"For [the] Chinese, he is a symbol of modernization and professionalization in the sporting industry, but he also has this incredible political symbolism ... the ability of Chinese to go out and compete in the world," claims Steven Lewis, a Rice University Asia expert, who also advises the Rockets. "

Rice University Asia Expert!? wtd :)

Baseball (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by Citori on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 07:58:28 AM EST

Hasn't baseball been doing this for years? I don't see how the NBA is pioneering anything here.

Big yawn. (3.00 / 2) (#39)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:00:02 PM EST

Basketball? It will never be popular at the same level as football.

Why? Because if you are not 2.00m or taller you can't play.

Compare that to football in which somebody as short as Diego Maradona or as tall as most European goalkeepers, have a place in the game.

Basketball? In most of the world is a distant second or third in popularity to football. ENough to say that nobody here in the UK cares if the US was 1st, 6th or 70th in the last world cup (when was it?) yet they will all know tha the US progressed quite far in the Football world cup.

Basketball? Nah, I don't think so.

"Stay a while, I'm distraught but juiced on your nearness."- johnny

sorry, it already is (none / 0) (#40)
by jjayson on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 12:28:39 PM EST

According to their respective international agencies, 400 million people basketball while 240 million play football (soccer). There are more national federated basketball associations than football (soccer) associations, by about a dozen, too. People enjoy playing even when they are not tall.

Also, in the last few years there has been a resurgence of short NBA players that are fantastic, such as Allen Iverson. He is reported at 5-foot-10 (but officially listed at 6-foot-0). The shortest player on an NBA roster is 5-foot-5, although he is an oddity in the game of the trees.

Basketball? Nah, I don't think so.
Well, you are going to be in the minority in a few years. If Basketball is a more exciting game that will soon bo beyond fottball (soccer) in popularity. The reason that the World Cup is so watch is because of national pride. There isn't as much parity in international basketball, yes. But when there is, I expect to see it be the new soccer.
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

[ Parent ]
No. (3.40 / 5) (#44)
by tkatchev on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:21:25 PM EST

You are wrong.

Your American perspective is skewed.

Your government has been feeding you too much propaganda; basically, the rest of the world sees the U.S. as basically a meaner and more rich third-world country. Sort of like Brasil except a little bit bigger and lots more aggressive.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Come on now... (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by Error404 on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 11:44:07 PM EST

You can't compare the USA to Brazil... I mean... Brazil can actually PLAY football

[ Parent ]
Hey.. (none / 0) (#58)
by DerKey on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 09:18:24 AM EST

That really doesn't have much to do with basketball. Sure, it originated in America, but it has worldwide appeal. It really is a fun game.

I like soccer (football) too, but basketball is just a bit faster. It's incredible to watch some of the stuff the skilled can pull off with a basketball - the insane passes, the blind flipping spinning jumpshots, monster dunks, etc. Also, it's easier to play on your own. In the US, you can pretty much find a basketball court anywhere, and it doesn't take much space. It only takes 4 people or so to get a good game going on, and if you like, you can even play a fun game with just 2 (although I find that a bit boring).

You might not like America, but don't let that cloud your judgement about basketball. In fact, that's good advice in general. Hate clouds judgement and refutes logic :D

[sig] Hurro. [/sig]
[ Parent ]
You don't need to be tall if you have game (none / 0) (#50)
by KilljoyAZ on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:03:09 PM EST

Why? Because if you are not 2.00m or taller you can't play.

That's BS, as he proves.

Unfortunately the converse is true - you don't need to have game if you are tall.

Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

Who cares? (none / 0) (#54)
by DeadBaby on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 09:43:00 PM EST

1) You're wrong. There are plenty of good short players in all levels of basketball.

2) I don't understand the connection you're finding between the ability to play and the popularity of a sport. What does it matter?

3) If you're just playing with your friends -- chances are your height won't even matter. So you can play basketball if you're 5-1 -- not a problem.

4) In case you didn't know... no one cares about socer in the US. It's not even on the radar screen.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]

I don't get it (1.50 / 2) (#42)
by dh003i on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 03:25:15 PM EST

What's the big deal with this Yao guy?  Sure, he has the potential to be great, possibly one of the best ever.  But he hasn't proven anything yet.  He's no where near the level of Shaq, or where Hakeem was.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

You practically answer it yourself. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by Dephex Twin on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:06:32 PM EST

What's the big deal with this Yao guy?
Well, he's from China and, as you say,
he has the potential to be great, possibly one of the best ever.
There you go right there.

Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Who's Yao Daddy?! (none / 0) (#46)
by StackyMcRacky on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 04:49:13 PM EST

at least, that's what they're saying on talk radio down in Houston.

hey (none / 0) (#47)
by qwaszx on Thu Feb 06, 2003 at 08:56:29 PM EST

you should make a story about these guys: www.tatu.ru Surely you can find some deep inter-cultural connection between them and Britney. Britney Spears of the World, Unite!

Yao? Dominate the NBA? (none / 0) (#48)
by skim123 on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 03:34:48 AM EST

I don't think Yao is that good. He's got upside, and he may become one of the best players in the NBA over the next decade, but I fear he cannot become the best. He cannot become "the next Jordan, " if you will.

Why? Because Shaq still holds court and will for as long as he is in his prime (another year or two, maybe three?). And then? And then maybe it will be time for Yao? Maybe, but not if LeBron James is all he's cracked up to be.

It's kind of like what Pat Riley said about MJ and the Bulls back when Riles was a coach in NY and then in Miami. I don't remember the exact quote, but it was something like, "You can have the one of the best teams, and have everything working right, but if you just had the misfortune of doing this all when Michael is around and going through his championships, all you can do is wait until he's done." (Very rough quote.) I think the same will apply to Yao. At a different time, maybe, he could be #1, but I think he's just in at the wrong time... that's not to say he'll not be one of the top dogs in the league, but I don't think he'll be the most dominant player, like Shaq is now, or MJ was, or Magic was, etc., etc.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

I dunno.... (none / 0) (#49)
by Kintanon on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 12:18:23 PM EST

The way he manhandled Shaq on the court made it look like Shaq might be on the way out. Yao has the physical ability and the skill to really be the next Jordan. And I think he'll do it. He actually made me enjoy watching basketball in a way I haven't done since Jordan was with the Bulls.


[ Parent ]

Teams are learning (none / 0) (#51)
by SLTrigger on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 01:40:09 PM EST

how to shut Shaq down. He's a large, slow-moving post player, and for the Lakers to be successful he needs not only to be able to score but to pass out of the post.

I think Sacramento was really the first to use a pass zone to stop this; they collapse around Shaq and close off his passing lanes, and he turns the ball over.

Yao could be the next Walton, maybe. It's tough for centers in this league to remain dominate for as long as guards can, because size and strength are larger factors.

It's only gonna get weirder, so let's get on with the show!
[ Parent ]
Rumours (none / 0) (#52)
by Kintanon on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 02:17:41 PM EST

I heard rumours that Yao trained with the Chinese National Wu Shu team as part of his basketball training. Might see some interesting stuff from him on the court if that's true.


[ Parent ]

Um. (none / 0) (#56)
by skim123 on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 02:22:21 AM EST

I think Sacramento was really the first to use a pass zone to stop this; they collapse around Shaq and close off his passing lanes, and he turns the ball over.

Of course even with this defense, the Kings have failed to beat the Lakers in the past three years in any playoff series. Yeah, yeah, I know, just wait until this year, but still. :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

[ Parent ]
Yao Ming on CNN tonight. (none / 0) (#53)
by jjayson on Fri Feb 07, 2003 at 04:53:23 PM EST

For anybody interested, tonight, Friday Feb. 7, there will be a a piece on Yao Ming on CNN NewsNight: 7/10pm  and 10pm/1am EST/PST.

Here is the full CNN schedule.
Smile =)
* bt krav magas kitten THE FUCK UP
<bt> Eat Kung Jew, bitch.

Latest Yao News (none / 0) (#57)
by skim123 on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 06:19:53 PM EST

Yao Ming signs endorsement contract with Gatorade.

Sing along now - "Like Yao, I want to be like Yao..." :-)

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

Yao Now Red Cow | 58 comments (36 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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