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Yao Ming Talks About His Dreams and Life
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Once a promising star who now has become the face of Chinese basketball, Yao Ming told his younger counterparts and hundreds of thousands of fans that his American dream started with a pair of leather basketball shoes.

In an online chat on Chinese portal, Yao talked to fans while he was left home by the national team nursing a foot injury.

"I didn't think I was capable of playing in the NBA until I was20. The initial motive pushing me all the way up was only a pair of leather basketball shoes," said the Houston Rockets center.

"I remember the time when I was only 14, I longed for a pair of leather basketball shoes because canvas sneakers were more common at that time," said the 26-year-old Shanghai native.

"Then someone told me that if you were selected into the youth national team, you could have them, so I worked hard to realize this goal," he said.

"After that, I got to know that if I could be called into the national squad, I could have as many leather shoes as I wanted, so I worked harder to make this happen," he recalled.

"The reason making me to make so many efforts may be very small but it was my motive, which pushed me forward step by step," he said.

"If I set myself a very big goal when I was 14, say, playing in the NBA, I probably could have never made it because the goal would be too faraway for me to reach and give me too much pressure to bear.

"Be down-to-earth and reach your goal step by step are my experience," he concluded.

The 7ft-6in Yao broke his left foot in NBA action in April and returned to China in June after surgery.

The Chinese team is scheduled to match up against the United States on August 8 and at the August 11-15 Stankovic Continental Champions Cup against Australia, Brazil, France, Germany and Greece after they traveled to Europe for a series of warm-up matches in their build-up for the World Championship later this month in Japan.

(Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2006)

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