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Rockets Should Have Confidence to Select CBA Giant Yao Ming
The NBA Houston Rockets should have confidence in selecting Chinese star center Yao Ming with their first pick in Wednesday's NBA Draft at Madison Garden Square, New York, said Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) Commissioner Xin Lancheng.

"The Rockets should have confidence in selecting Yao," Xin told Xinhua on Wednesday. "They should see no obstacle."

A press conference will be held by the Rockets late Wednesday to announce their decision on Yao, according to Yao's representative Eric Zhang.

"The Rockets are going to announce that they will most likely select Yao with their first pick," Zhang told Xinhua.

It seemed that the Rockets and the CBA had reached certain agreements on the 2.26-meter center's play in the NBA but Xin preferred "common understandings" in his description of the situation.

"The Rockets have had common understandings with us on drafting Yao," Xin added.

Yao needs a letter of clearance from FIBA, the sport's international governing body, with the consent of the CBA to play in the NBA, according to Eric Zhang. But Xin said it would not be necessary before the draft.

"It (the clearance letter) is not necessary at the moment," Xin said.

Yao Ming and his representatives on Saturday reached "agreements in principle" on how they would compensate the Shanghai Sharks if any NBA team pick him in the draft.

If the Rockets select Yao Thursday, he will become the first international player without American basketball program to be drafted as No.1 pick in the NBA history.

(People's Daily June 27, 2002)

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