"Everyone has a dream," said Del Harris' American compatriot
Martin Rood King.
"Never give up your dream," coach Harris told his Chinese
Before Monday, few believed the Chinese men's basketball team
would have a chance to beat Serbia and Montenegro to make the
quarter-finals of the Athens Olympics.
"Italy smashes China's hope for quarter-finals," some Chinese
media exploited the same headline on Tuesday.
To ordinary Chinese, who are generally more practical and less
romantic than Westerners, beating the two-time defending world
champion is like a "mission impossible" for their national team,
who had lost three preliminary group matches by 25-plus points.
However, as an American, Harris, who became the first foreign
coach of the Chinese basketball team in May, had stronger
"We are not going to give up our game against Serbia," said
Harris after China's 89-52 loss to Italy on Saturday. "They might
beat us forty, but we might beat them, who knows,"
"We did beat New Zealand, if you watched New Zealand's play
today against Argentina (Argentina won 98-94), you may wonder how
China beat them. It doesn't matter how, we did,"
"How are we going to beat Serbia? We don't matter how, but maybe
"If we do, we probably go on to the next stage, so it's that
"We are not going to give up here, there is always a
Yao Ming, who began to play for the NBA Houston Rockets since
2002, has put his weight behind Harris in holding the "dream" of
the Chinese team.
"I told Del after yesterday's training that I had a feeling that
we could win the game against Serbia," Yao said at the press
conference after scoring 27 points in China's stunning 67-66
victory over Serbia and Montenegro on Monday.
"Because we had the best practice after we arrived at Athens and
the players were with high spirit."
Calmly sinking four free throws in the last two minutes, Yao led
the Chinese close to the "dream" as he awarded them a 65-63 lead
with 28 seconds from the end before Du Feng made the "dream" come
true by burying two from the line to make it 67-63 with 3.2 seconds
"Our coach has been giving us a lesson in the past three
months,a lesson of life," Yao said after the Asian champion's sweet
revenge over Serbia and Montenegro for its 128-61 loss to the
Europeans at the Atlanta Games eight years ago.
"You should never give up your dream," Yao said. "You should
work hard every day and every minute to realize it."
"We have been dreaming of inheriting the 'spear' of elder
Chinese basketballers who had made top eight at the Olympics, today
we did it," Yao said.
Yao's teammate Liu Wei now had a new dream.
"Our coach had told us that the Olympics is a stage of miracles
and today we made one by beating the world champion," Liu said.
"I don't want this to be an end, I hope the coach can guide us
The Chinese will play European champion and Sydney Olympic
bronze medalist Lithuania on Thursday. No matter what is the
result, their dream will live.
(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2004)