ASIAN AMERICAN ISSUES
Yao Ming: The Next Asian Superstar?
he sweetest moment for Asian men in American sports came on June 26, 2002 at Madison Square Garden. The Houston Rockets had just spent their number one overall draft pick on 7-5 Chinese center Yao Ming over 6-2 Duke guard Jay Williams. The largely black crowd of draft prospects and their contingents booed. They had reason to be displeased. For the past quarter century black athletes had dominated pro basketball and they saw Yao as a subversive force, an alien threat. Even Charles Barkley -- Yao's basketball idol -- sniped at Houston's choice and hinted at bad consequences.
Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 04:50:58 PM)
David or Goliath?
What's wrong with this picture?
In the global sports scene blacks have come to represent all-around athletic prowess. Asian athletes, on the other hand, have been painted as disciplined and skilled but lacking power and size, able to excel only in sports no one cares about. For an Asian to get the top pick in a black-dominated sport was heresy.
To appreciate what Yao represents to Asian American men requires a quick trip down memory lane. And we do mean quick. The lane is short and sparsely populated.
In the beginning there was Sammy Lee, the first Asian American to win Olympic gold. He did it with 10-meter platform diving at the 1948 London games and again in 1952 at the Helsinki games. Not exactly a marquee sport, but inspiring nevertheless at a time when Asian Americans hardly knew what to call themselves.
Then came Michael Chang whose 1989 French Open championship has passed into tennis legend. Cramping and down two sets to Ivan Lendl in the round of 16, the 17-year-old phenom dared to discombobulate the Ice Man with moonballs and an underhanded serve. The ploy worked. The proof that Chang's nerves and speed were real came in the classic 5-set finals victory against Stefan Edberg. But Chang's recent ignomious descent into tennis twilight raises the suspicion that he simply lacks the size and power to stay in the power game.
It wasn't until Hideo Nomo joined the Dodgers in 1995 that an Asian athlete was able to inspire sustained frenzy in one of the big-three sports. Nomo's martian windup and delivery proved so effective that he set Dodgers strikeout records, made the All-Stars and inspired Nomomania.
By 2001 when Ichiro Suzuki joined the Mariners, Asian imports taking Rookie of the Year honors had practically become a Major League tradition. But none had done it with Ichiro's flair or sunglasses. It wasn't enough that he led the game in hitting and basestealing, he seemed determined to make it look easy. Sex appeal had finally come to the image of the Asian male athlete.
But the image still lacked something in many AA minds. Sure, for a leadoff hitter Ichiro hit his share of home runs, but he was known for speed and finesse, not power. Having chafed so long under stereotypes denying them size and strength, AA men longed for a star who could knock those assumptions back into the last millennium.
Eyes turned longingly to football as the obvious arena for the ultimate stereotype smasher -- and saw only Dat Nguyen of the Dallas Cowboys. As a promising linebacker, Nguyen doesn't enjoy the cache of a star offensive back. And at 5-11 and 240 pounds, Nguyen isn't exactly in the 99th percentile in terms of size and power among football players.
Asian American eyes were drawn to basketball by a trio of giants known collectively as "The Great Wall". They were very big for the Chinese national team. First to make his NBA debut was Wang Zhizhi (7-1, 220 pounds) in April 2001. As a center for the Dallas Mavericks he has averaged 5.5 points per 10.6 minutes of playing time per game. A respectable stat for any rookie but disappointing for those who had hoped for an instant Asian star. Then came Mengke Bateer (6-11, 290 pounds) in February of 2002. Despite 15.1 minutes of play per game as a center for the Denver Nuggets, he too disappointed some with an average 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Enter the Dragon. At a height variously described as 7-5 or 7-6, Yao Ming, 22, is at once the tallest and youngest of the trio. In the past two years his weight shot up from 255 to 295 pound -- and he's still growing. His gifts extend beyond size, however. He moves a foot shorter. Born to a pair of former stars for the Chinese national teams, his court instincts and skills are practically dyed-in-the-wool.
And yet Yao isn't a lock to defy the darker prognostications of his prospects as a Rocket. He was regularly outplayed by Wang Zhizhi when both were playing in China. Even with Yao, Wang and Mengke, the Chinese national team routinely lost to second-tier powers like France and Lithuania. Yao has never gone up against the likes of Shaquille O'Neal. The adjustment to life in the U.S. will be long and difficult. In short, Yao Ming is ideally positioned to become the biggest disappointment in the history of Asians in American sports.
Is Yao Ming the next Asian superstar? Or is he more likely to reinforce the image of Asian men as also-rans in power sports?
This interactive article is closed to new input.
Discussions posted during the past year remain available for browsing.
© 1996-2013 Asian Media Group Inc
No part of the contents of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission.
WHAT YOU SAY
[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
There are so many ways to discredit this black-supremacist (or maybe even a white defeatist - a white couch potato who's convinced that black guys are physically superior to his fat ass) moron's ideas about black superiority and Asian inferiority. His claims that physical growth is solely dependent on genetics can easily be disproved.
This article is about a new study about the average height and health of American Plains Indians -- the cousins of East/Siberian Asians. Despite the stereotype, researchers now postulate that they were on average significantly healthier and taller than the first European settlers.
After you read the article, think about this:
Why were the Euroepans, who today in America are assumed to be the strongest and tallest people, so much shorter than plains indians?
Simple. The environment and nutritiona nd excercise had a HUGE part in their physical development.
Plains Indian males had to hunt daily for sustenance. They had to hone their bodies for defense and attack against rival tribes. They also practiced spiritual and mental cleansing, which perfectly synchronized the body with mind (not their similarity to East Asian meta-physical philosophies).
In other words, they were primed for optimal physical fitness and performance.
Europeans at the time, on the other hand, were victims of centuries of plague, thanks to the lack of proper infrastrucutre in their great cities. When hundreds of thousands of people gather together, with no means of waste and sewgage disposal, their health and physical development suffer. Years later, the Industrial Revolution and its effects of pollution and hard physical labor placed further strains on the Europeans' physical development. Not to mention additional strain placed on them by social and political revolutions, which meant years of war, poor nutrition and mental stress, which can all affect growth.
To further illustrate, I suggest that you think about this -- Asians in the past half-century have had to deal with these exact same stresses that the Europeans dealt with a hundred years before them. That is why they were smaller on average, at the time.
This is just one piece of evidence that pretty much blows your lame-duck theory about genetic superiorty out of the water. Most human beings are a product of their environment.
Blacks genetically superior to Asians? Hardly. On average, the black race is the MOST BEHIND, physically, economically, and socially. Their industrial revolution is at LEAST a century behind Asia. Their govenrment, health, and social consciousness are a pathetic shambles.
Black Americans are merely a diaspora of the Black Race that is riding on the coattails of a developed nation called the United States of America. That is all. If their asses got dumped back in Africa, they would all fry in hell, that is no joke. What I say is not racist, that is a fact. Blacks in America have benefitted from having been born in a developed nation. To claim that they are genetically superior as a whole race is nonsense.
Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 08:17:59 (PST)
Yao is definitely doing a lot for the asian community. He now has three commercial. One of it is playing today in between the super bowl games. This is great that the american public are seeing an recognize asian athlete.
Hopefully we will soon have recogizable asian football player, that day will come.
Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 07:39:33 (PST)
Science Vs. Opinion,
Yes, I second your opinion.
This is to the fellow (who I presume is a black male) who claims black genetic superiority over other races.
The tallest tribe in Africa are not the Yinka, but the Masaai from Central Kenya. The males average about 190 centimeters, or 6 foot 3 inches. However, they are bone thin.
Why? Their bodies have evolved to the intensely hot climate. To dissipate as much body heat as possible, their limbs and torsos have gotten long and sinewy, like pipe-cleaners. They can never reach the muscular proportions of Arctic Europeans or the powerful build of Siberian Asians like the Mongols. Mongols are squat but incredibly well-built on average. Think Mengke Bateer, and you're getting there (Of course not many Mongols are as tall as Mengke Bateer (6-11), but his build is prototypical for a Mongol man.).
And as for American blacks, it's a known fact even amongst African American scholars that many men in the South were BRED for size and strength.
Yep, you heard me right. BRED, like cattle. The strongest, tallest and most able-bodies negro males were allowed to mate with as many females as possible to ensure a healthy new "herd" of negro children. You can still see the effects of that crude genetic engineering in the Deep South. Many black atheletes are from the Southern states, as a result.
If this isn't an indication that blacks excellent performace in American sport is partly artificial, then what is?
There is no denying that many blacks have good genetics for physical performance, but to simply pass it off as racial superiority is just rubbish --I laugh at those claims. I regularly out run black players on the basketball court or football field.
The fact that you try to pass off these effects of controlled breeding as genetic superiority is certainly laughable.
If we were to use the same reasoning you apply to average intelligence of races, it would inevitably point to that blacks are "sub-par" in this area of performance.
But of course, being the race- supremacist, you will argue that the exceptionally poor average academic/intellectual performace of blacks is attributable to years of neglect and unfair treatment by the greater society.
Do you notice how your pretensions fail here? You only attribute genetic superiority to traits that make the Black Race look good, while you are apt to blame societal injustices for traits that are unfavorable.
Basically, you're full of crap.
Now, go take that inferior brain of yours and get lost, or rightfully admit that your statements were ignorant and racist. Then I'll think of retracting my statement about blacks' intelligence.
You're a moron
Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 07:35:04 (PST)
To be honest, Yao Ming lately has not do as good as I hope he has. But hopefully he will improve again and have some more big games.
We should all live as one and don't worry about identity. We are all brothers living in this world.
Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 14:59:47 (PST)
Actually I was watching the rebroadcast video of the weekly mandarin interview with Yao Ming on www.nba.com. The guy seems pretty grounded about the whole Shaq match up. He even states the next match up with Shaq will be different because both teams will be changing their strategies in the next match.
When asked about his feeling about being a foreigner in the all stars game. He wittly replies everyone is a foreigner to him in the NBA. But he sees everyone as an individual playing the language of basketball.
The only time I saw him lose a little composure was the last question about his driving experience in the USA. He seem to have a look on his face like "why are you wasting my time with this dumb question." But he took his time and answered it pretty much still the same old same old.
Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 11:13:43 (PST)
How does a 6'8" guy block a 7'6" dude???
If your name is yao ming, it's very possible to get your ball rejected by guys that are a foot shorter.
yao ming = big disgrace
WHERE WAS YAO????????
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 22:48:02 (PST)
So I see it's starting already - Yao bashing. Let the kid has a string of bad games, and the haters all come out in their droves. Talent is not a matter of turning it on and off at will like a tap, if it is then we will all be genius in our chosen fields. Yao Ming has said that he is not tired, he probably meant he is not physically tired. But mentally he is probably drained. He has just faced probably his greatest challenge - Shaquille O'Neal, and at least did not embarrassed himself. Can you imagine the relief he might have felt? To be in the public arena with millions watching, half rooting for you and the other half hoping you will fall flat on your face. I am sure all of you have experienced it when you are building up to a great event and afterwards you kinda flat and slumped over because the anticipation has been so great. I bet you that is how Yao Ming is feeling now. All the buildup and tension barely over and now he just can't get the adrendalin pumping again. But I am a fan and I will not criticised his lack of mental strength. All I can do is wish him the very best and believe that he can rise up to the challenge again soon.
Best wishes for Yao Ming
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 21:37:23 (PST)
1 of 4 for field goals.
WHERE WAS YAO? haha
2 of 6 for free throws.
WHERE WAS YAO????
98-74 Detorit win.
WHERE WAS YAO????
another crappy performance.
another blowout loss.
some unknowledgable fans that don't know the game are impressed with less than mediocrity. once again, the chinese human cardboard showed why his fans are retarded. he definitely made you guys look stupid again. hahahahah
WHERE WAS YAO?
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 20:29:09 (PST)
"Another reason why the Blacks in America are so tall is to think logically when the slaves traders got them over to the New world-America do you think they only bring in the weak and feeble? No, they brought over bigger and stronger blacks over to tend the cotton and haul the hay. If you look at modern Africans many are average to smaller height so it can be assumed that after many generations of black slaves decendants living here are going to be bigger and taller than their African counterparts.
While your thinking is correct, it's actually, according to anthropology studies, the other way around. Yes, slavery had much to do with the appearance of taller and more physically fit African-Americans. However, it was not the strongest and tallest that were chosen to be slaves; rather, it was the tallest and strongest that were able to SURVIVE to produce viable offspring in the harsh environments.
Therefore, their offspring would be more likely to be taller and/or be physically more fit. Which is why the tendency seems to be for African-Americans to be taller and stronger than their African counterparts.
However, don't forget that such "gifts" come with many disadvantages. African-Americans suffer greatly from high blood pressure, heart disease, and a slew of genetic susceptibilities to many other diseases. Obesity is also a rising problem.
Yao is still the man
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 14:28:31 (PST)
At first, I was wondering how bizarre it would be that three people would independently use the term "MrMacaroni," all in the same day. Then I realized that they were all posted by someone with the IP address of 18.104.22.168. Do us a favor, whoever you are at 22.214.171.124, and just stick with the same screen name. Now, onto the discussion...
Guy at 126.96.36.199 wrote:
"Hey dumbo, it's not 38.8 as you said. It's 40% to be about exact."
First of all, as of the time I posted that remark, he was shooting 40 for 103, which is 38.8%. That covers the span from Houston's 1/4 game against Golden State through their 1/21 game against Dallas.
Second of all, even if I were wrong (which I wasn't) about that shooting statistic, the general point would still hold. Both 38.8% and 40% are bad percentages, especially for someone of Yao's size and talent. This guy's capable of putting up big numbers, but due to a variety or reasons, he isn't, which is unfortunate.
Finally, why would anyone write "It's 40% to be about exact"? So is he shooting about 40%, or exactly 40%? Make up your mind!
The guy at 188.8.131.52 also wrote:
["If there weren't special treatment for your kind and blacks, there would be none of you in colleges and universities!"] is not exactly racist. This is something he found out from reading articles. You need to learn how to distinguish racism from his own opinion or from facts.
You're right, it is an opinion (and certainly not a fact). It's a racist opinion. Swooping generalizing opinions about people of various races without looking at evidence and ignoring counterexamples is generally considered racist. This guy claims that no African-American has a chance at any college or university without "special treatment." How is that not racist? He assumes that all blacks are incapable. He made the accusation, so the burden of proof is on him to show us that African-Americans can't get into colleges without things such as athletic scholarships or affirmative action, etc. We shouldn't stand for such garbage. I don't care if he read that somewhere or came up with it on his own. It's racist.
Finally, the guy at 184.108.40.206 wrote:
"LOL, your (sic) the guy who said 'you can praise Yao all you want but don't put down his counter part.'"
No, I didn't write that. I wrote, "It's fine to like Yao, but it doesn't help by trying to praise him by putting down his counterparts." Quote me correctly the next time, especially when all you have to do is cut and paste.
I don't understand why on this board, defending/praising Yao has to be equivalent to cutting down Shaq and other centers. They're both talented players. If you think Yao is good (and he is), you don't have to qualify your statement by arguing that Shaq sucks. In fact, that's a lousy idea, because it'd be harder to argue that Shaq is a lousy player than it is to argue that Yao is a good player. Can't it just be sufficient to say, "Shaq's good, Yao's good, they're both good, albeit in somewhat different ways"?
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 13:02:18 (PST)
Yao got dunked on.
Yao got rejected.
Yao got buried.
Yao got overpowered.
Yao got facialized.
Yao got brutalized.
Yao got another turnover.
Yao tossed another brick.
Yao got a cardboard body.
Yao got no vertical.
Yao got no stamina.
Yao got no intensity.
Yao only had 6 points.
Yao drank a lot of gatorade in the fourth quarter while sitting on the bench.
Yao got another loss.
Yao got no heart.
Yao got a lot of dumb mindless fans who don't know much about basketball.
where was yao?
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 09:25:23 (PST)
Okay the big picture. Basketball is a commercial event which adds no value to life in general.
If it wasn't for basketball Shaq would be in jail somewhere in the USA. And if it wasn't for basketball Yao would be on a factory floor in China somewhere.
That is the real picture.
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 09:15:41 (PST)
How the hell Manutol Bol grow to be 7 '7, his mom is like 5'7 and his dad is like 5'10. I think he has a growth disorder when he was younger.
Friday, January 24, 2003 at 08:46:56 (PST)
NEWEST COMMENTS |