Since Yao Ming's electrifying NBA debut with the Houston Rockets in 2002, the 7-foot-5 Chinese center has appeared in numerous TV commercials, on magazine covers, and in countless basketball-highlights reels. And yet, despite Yao's status as one of ...
the country's most recognizable sports stars, the remarkable story of how a shy, gangly kid from Shanghai went on to become the NBA's first foreign-born and developed #1 draft pick has remained, until now, largely unknown.
With this memoir, Yao reveals himself as a thoughtful, opinionated young man whose insights extend far beyond the basketball court. He paints a compelling portrait of how his parents, both former Chinese basketball stars and fully aware of the bleak outlook for ex-players, resisted the Chinese government's interest in steering their son into the sport as a child. But the love of the game took hold of Yao as a teenager, and he began to sense both his own potential and the restraints he would face from the bureaucrats who ran the sport. As Yao's success in China grew, it became clear that his future would be with the NBA. But nothing came easily. With riveting detail, Yao recounts the white-knuckle gamesmanship required to win the approval of Chinese officials for his leap to America.
Yao: A Life in Two Worlds vividly chronicles Yao's move from Shanghai to Houston: The sudden millionaire has to learn to drive his newly acquired car; the young man who has only ever had one girlfriend tries to make sense of pro-basketball's hard-partying life off-court; the supremely dominant player in China is transformed into a NBA rookie unnerved at the prospect of facing Shaquille O'Neal. But soon enough, aided by his easygoing manner and sense of humor that has proved so appealing to fans, Yao finds his moorings and flourishes as a major NBA star with a worldwide following.
Sports writer Ric Bucher spent hundreds of hours in conversation with Yao in the U.S. and China, closely tracking the player's feelings and observations during that historic first season with the Rockets. Yao: A Life in Two Worlds is an inspiring account of how one man's faith in himself, hard work, and drive have taken him from national success story to international iconand helped build a bridge between two countries.