These were the words that came via satellite from Shanghai on June 26, 2002, resounding with Wagnerian force. They came from the mouth of an enigmatic, 7-foot-5 Chinese giant named Yao Ming who, moments earlier, had been selected by the Houston Rockets with the very first pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.
Since that day, the biggest sports hero to the most populous nation in the world has attracted a great deal of attention from Western basketball fans, writers and reporters alike. He has been referred to by many as "the Michael Jordan of Chinese basketball," causing one Rockets insider to demur. To the people of China, he remarked, "[h]e's Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Babe Ruth all rolled into one." Yao's play on the court earned him this renown; yet he is also known as a gentle spirit who liked to ride his bicycle to his games in Shanghai. David Hardisty, Webmaster of the popular Rockets fan site, explains the public's fascination with Yao's off-the-court life and manner this way: "We want to know because we want to be able to say that he's an easy guy to like, but nobody really has any idea what the real Yao Ming is like."
The Tao of Yao provides both the dyed-in-the-wool fan and the merely curious with an unprecedented window into the life and mind of the quiet yet fiercely competitive rookie sensation - through his own words, as expressed in numerous interviews and meetings with the press and his fans. It also provides fascinating insight into how Yao is seen by others, both inside and outside the league....Continua