03.30.07

Yo, it’s Yi!

Posted in Basketball at 9:37 am by Nicole

The next Yao Ming (e.sinchew-i.com)

These guys are going to be compared to each other ad infinitum between now and June, and it’s not in any way a fair comparison…it’s the kind of situation that makes sports journalists cringe because you know you have to ask the question, and you know the question has been asked 1.3 billion times, but you have to do it, because there are about to be two big men from China in the NBA and that’s a story all on its own right now. Hopefully once Yi starts to play, the print will be about his strengths as a player and not just the fact that he’s living in Yao Ming’s shadow. News flash: there will never be another Yao Ming. Number-one draft pick, 7’6″, the world on his shoulders, the requirements to be endlessly diplomatic in the face of so much pressure…nope, that story happened already. What Yi will be is another great player added to an already stunningly international NBA scene in the United States, provided he can keep himself focused and continue to improve year after year. That’s a cue he can take from Yao, whose Houston Rockets rallied to protect the camp after Yao went down with a leg fracture in December. They’re currently in it for a possible fourth-place ranking in the West, and they’ve locked up a playoff berth, so Yi will have lots of Yao highlight tapes to check out before he makes his NBA debut later this year.

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