Considering Yao Ming is almost literally the biggest thing to come out of China, it’s a pretty big deal when he plays in his home country. Last night was no different as the Rockets beat the Nets in Beijing’s Olympic stadium. ‘Twas a nice homecoming for the former Shanghai Shark.
Except for the haters. They’re everywhere, man. Reuters has the goods.
Yao failed to impress everyone who had shown up to see him.
“It looks like he needs to use more effort when he runs, especially at the latter part of the match,” a critical He Tingting told Reuters.
Her friend Lin Jie pitched in: “He seems to be not as good as before.”
Their assessment was echoed by another fan, Han Bin.
“Yao was so-so … maybe it’s because of his foot injury. More or less I think, he still couldn’t move very fast,” was his verdict.
Zhang Chunyan, however, was more charitable.
“Yes, of course I’m here for Yao Ming,” she said. “I think he’s in good shape.
“In general, he’s the same as before, maybe not as strong but he’s still a great player. He has always been an idol to me.
“I hope he can be better in the next season.”
Sorry, but I just think it is TBS Very Funny that China’s most famous basketball player ever — and, by extension, a guy who broke Michael Jordan’s record for All-Star votes — would return to China, only to have Chinese fans be not impressed with their hero. Lots of laughs over here.
Back in the days of Mengke Bateer and Wang Zhizhi, any appearance by a Chinese NBA player probably would have been met by adoration, regardless of their abilities. Now? Not so much. They’re way too smart about the sport. But as Bob Dylan once said about the way Chinese people evaluate basketball, “The times they are a-changin’.”
If Yao Ming isn’t safe from mediocre reviews by the Chinese, no one is. That’s very bad news for former Chinese favorites Tracy McGrady. Unless, of course, Chinese fans are super in to well-manicured beards.