Film details Yao’s rookie woes

What would you do if you saw Yao Ming in Martin Square? "I wouldn’t believe it was him at first," freshman Michael Miller said.

"I’d be nervous to talk to him," said sophomore Becca Snow, "It would be kind of intimidating."

Sophomore Dustin Lane would take a very different approach, saying, "I’d hop on his back and get a ride to class."

However you would approach the seven-foot-five-inch behemoth, the fact of the matter is, he’s an enormously famous National Basketball Association (NBA) player and would probably never really be on SPU’s campus. Yes, he’s a seven-foot-five-inch Chinese man, who has made a huge impact on Chinese-United States relations through his feet, hands and great basketball shot.

Yao came into the NBA as a rookie in 2002, being selected as the first pick in the first round by the Houston Rockets. Since then, he’s scored over 1,100 points per season and been to the All Star game all three years he’s been in the league. His upcoming movie, "The Year of the Yao," which documents his inaugural season in the NBA, debuts this spring. It covers the challenges and differences that Yao had to overcome, including the NBA, language differences and even his lifestyle in general. His struggles to become a dominant force in the NBA where so many other "big men" have already showed their force are also documented.

The movie depicts the long and ardent process he had to go through to make up for his poor first NBA game performance and the reputation that went with it. "Year of the Yao" even touches on his advertising struggles with regards to his language barrier; I’m sure you all remember him in his Visa and Apple computer commercials from a few years ago. With his interpreter narrating, the 90 minute movie documents everything about Yao’s rookie season, all the way from his first team practice to his last game of the season against The Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal) and the Lakers.

I had the opportunity to see the movie at a premiere showing the other day, and it was quite good. However, if you do not know who Yao Ming is, you might not find it as intriguing as I did. I also had the opportunity to get an interview with Yao, but unfortunately could not due to extenuating circumstances. However, when thinking about what I would’ve asked him, I found some other good ideas in people I interviewed. For example, freshman Callie Webb would have asked him, "What’s your shoe size?" Freshman Ryan Jewell would have asked, "Do you want a personal trainer or bodyguard?" Snow brought up a good point in her question though that I think would have been interesting to find out. She would’ve asked, "What does it feel like to see the tops of everyone’s heads?" and, "Does your neck ever get sore?"

For all you sports nuts out there, I would say that you would enjoy the movie and should go see it when it comes out. Basketball enthusiasts like Miller would ask Ming if he wanted to go play ball with him if he had the chance. "I think I could take him. There are new rims on the Ashton court; yeah, I could take him." For more information on the film go to <a href="www.theyearoftheyao.com">www.theyearoftheyao.com</a>.

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Title: Film details Yao’s rookie woes | Author: Ryan Phillips | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2005-04-27 | Internal ID: 4503