Monday, August 11, 2008

Yao vs. Team USA at the Nike "Commitment" Gallery

I had the pleasure of watching what may go down in history as the most-watched game in basketball history at the Nike Team USA "Commitment" Gallery in Harlem, NY. 94x50 project manager, Matt Donahue, invited me to the screening and asked me to organize local Chinese American youth groups and basketball teams (mostly from NY/NJ based AAU program the USAB Warriors) to complement his own group of predominantly African American youth. It was a trip. And fantastically catered.

Most of the kids, Chinese or African American were cheering Team USA from the beginning much to the confusion of some of the latter; but a strong contingent of Chinese youth, myself and most of the parents were pretty raucously cheering on both teams. I just love an underdog. It was a friendly but very loud rivalry even just inside the gallery. Pics are courtesy of Jenny Chan of the NY Sabres women's basketball club--why I didn't bring my camera, I can't figure.

Come late 2nd quarter, however, Team USA exerted their will, put on a suffocating trapping press and China, who had to play almost perfectly before that just to keep pace, fell to a 12-pt deficit going into halftime. By the 2nd half, everyone was cheering for Team USA. Or rather cheering the slam dunk contest that replaced the 2nd half. China continued with dignity, however, on their home court, playing hard and honoring their fans. They, or at least Yao, never once gave up. Team USA just showed how explosive they can be if they can get out in transition. They are as Lebron said, very fast. Good thing the court is only 94'. So, rest of the Olympic field, you have your game-plan: don't crash the boards, don't turnover the ball and don't miss.

Originally posted at Yao Central on August 11 10:42 AM.

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