China stumbled off to a poor first half in its match against Greece Monday evening, scoring only 24 points and missing every attempt at a three-pointer. In the third quarter, the team launched a strong comeback and managed to cut the deficit to 10 in the last three minutes, but Greece was simply too far ahead to beat. After the game, Yao Ming who led the team with 16 points to finish 91-77 was said to have walked past reporters without saying a word, shouting angrily at himself and punching his left hand as he left the tunnel. Speculation is that Yao was pissed off at being given 18 minutes to play by China coach Jonas Kazlauskas (from Lithuania), who when asked by the Wall Street Journal responded by saying:
“Yao is a fighter. He wants to play. He wants to fight, but he is a player and I am the coach… I am the one making these decisions . . . Yao should play for a long time, but today was not the time.”
Team mate Li Nan opened the press conference after the match with a simple statement expressing his disappointment at losing the game, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was a (really dumb) question by a Chinese journalist who asked him about how he felt about seeing Liu Xiang giving up on the 100-metre hurdles and limping out of the stadium. Li Nan shot back:
“Is that a basketball player? Does he play for our team? And I don’t understand why you are asking a question about him.”
before proceeding to remove his headphones, dropping them onto the table, and then storming out of the press conference.