Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Who Made Who, Yao or Team China?

Who made who, Yao or Team China?
From Yao Central

China's official sports association has "issued an unprecedented public criticism of Yao Ming for reporting late to national team training."

Without Yao, the Chinese Nationals can't beat the Boston Celtics... summer league team. It could be argued that Chinese basketball does not exist on the international stage without him. Why then, you ask, would Team China criticize their golden goose?

"No matter how lofty public welfare activities are, they can't be allowed to take first place in a player's life," says the China Sports Daily. Yao might be the busiest man in show business right now with most of his work in the off-season having to do with social reform in China, that and his wedding. But the Daily's statement seems to infer that in China a player is just supposed to play basketball. That's a fundamental way of life that may not resonate to Americans. It's not that all American athletes think they need to diversify or that the first thing they need to do after entering the NBA is to give back to the community, but it's almost a requirement to do so at some point in their career. Say what you want about the rapping, the acting or the celebrity, in America, an athlete is never just an athlete.

The second quote singles out: "No matter how sweet personal life is, it can't be compared to the exultation of capturing glory for one's nation."

That's some old-school Mao-era rhetoric. Another fundamental difference to our thinking here, where the personal life is sacred, to everyone but Paris Hilton. Yao has been a little preoccupied with his wedding. Surely no
Mr. Longoria affair, but an event nonetheless. Could his public denunciation stem from the fear that China is somehow losing influence over Yao with his continual exposure to Western culture?

Click here for the rest.

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