“We cannot make enough progress by the national league alone: it’s like trying to build a cart without knowing how” …
“Chinese players have to go overseas to play. I mean, they should go there alone and fight for their positions on the teams. This is the only way to lift the overall level of Chinese basketball.”
“I am sorry for the disappointing result. Now everybody knows we need to make more changes. We’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for the Beijing Olympics.”
The state-run media, however, even after the loss to Greece, still labels China’s team for 2008 as “promising.” But, then again, the whole story was little more than journalistic fellatio performed on Mr. Yao. We learned that he was “one of the most successful Asian super stars in sports” (true, of course) and that his team’s victories over Slovenia and Senegal were “brave” and that “[i]t was not the statistics that highlighted Yao’s games in Japan, but his leadership and fighting spirit that set up him as one of the best super stars in the tournament.” And did you know that “Yao inspired his teammates to the higher level of their games without saying a word.”
But this was the best part:
Yao, who refused any Japanese sponsors because of the wars between China and Japan in history, spent no blink on his popularity in Japan, but gave out all he has to produce a determined and confident team from a couple of promising Chinese.
We’re betting that goes on Yao’s plaque in the Hall of Fame.