If 20 years ago you asked the average American basketball fan if a Chinese man could play center for an NBA team, his answer might have sounded something like this: “Ha ha. No, he'd be too short!” But now, the doubters are silent. Who closed their mouths? Houston Rockets, 2.26-meter-tall center Yao Ming, from China.
Yao Ming grew up in a family of basketball players. When he was 12, Yao Ming started going to an athletics academy outside of Shanghai and later spent a lot of time studying NBA games televised in China.
All this has paid off. Yao's first NBA honor was his ranking as No.1 draft pick, and he's been elected for a Rookie-of-the-Month award. Yao Ming has a style different from those of tall centers in the past. He rarely goes for the flashy slams. He'd rather show off his silk-smooth free-throw shots, or use his height to pop in jump shots from the three-point line.