Yao Ming has informed the NBA and the Houston Rockets that he will retire however he has evidently not informed China.  According to reports from Chinese news agencies the rumors of his retirement are not verified and not true.  In other words . . . It isn’t so.

“We have not got any news about Yao’s retirement . . . we were surprised by the news spreading around here today.”
        -Talung Lin, China’s market manager for the Rockets

Yao is the poster child for globalization.  From the American side he’s that big Chinese guy who plays in the NBA and the only Chinese name that most people can pronounce (Jacky Chan and Bruce Lee don’t count).  From China, however, he is infinitely more iconic.  He represents a nation that has moved from a being blip on the global radar to being absolutely impossible to ignore.  His story is, hands down, the most public picture of the polar opposite ideologies (Communism and Capitalism) that are co-existing quite well (depending on who you ask) in China.   His career has exploded the NBA brand throughout Asia and has shown the West that Chinese people don’t just play ping pong (although they are quite good at that too).  What began as a point of national pride 8 seasons ago has blossomed into millions of young Chinese ballers (and wannabe’s) who know more about team and player stats than Marv Albert.  All perspectives considered it makes sense that breaking news in Houston is slower to break in Beijing.  

His retirement will have a huge impact on China . . . when it happens . . . someday . . . in the future.

Yao has served to bridge the cultural gap between East and West and while the implications are impossible to fathom and the impact would take decades to fully explore, it seems that the gap is still just a bit broader than 2.26 meters.  Sorry . . . 7 feet 6 inches.  Case in point.    

Call home Yao.  Your mother is worried.

I know I’ve posted this before (see “I Love This Gaem”)
but it bears repeating.  Houston Rockets is the only
Jersey at the Chinese”wholesale market”
(in our city) that is not misspelled.
Now that’s a legacy!
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