After a news conference on a preseason trip to his hometown of Shanghai, Yao Ming asked me a question on our drive back to the hotel: Would I like to see where he grew up?
“Absolutely,” I told him.
This was October of 2003. As the new head coach of the Houston Rockets, I had only been on the job for a few months. Along with Tracy McGrady, Yao was our franchise cornerstone, a No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft who, at 7-foot-6, had the skill and drive and temperament to be an MVP candidate every season.
At this time, we were still in the early stages to building a relationship. For starters, this preseason trip to China educated me quickly about the responsibility and pressure that he carried from the Far East. People rocked our bus outside the arenas. Everywhere we went in the...Read details...
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