Houston Rockets center Yao Ming advised China's brightest NBA
prospect Yi Jianlian to get tough on court but remain placid off it
to survive in the world's most competitive basketball league, local
media reported on Friday.
Yi, 19, who arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday to attend a
training camp ahead of the NBA draft, was lacking in upper body
strength and "a bit long and rangy", the China Daily quoted Yao as
"He needs more muscle, that's for sure," Yao said. "Although he
doesn't shy away from physical contact, he can get disrupted by
rough play and struggles to maintain his position as opposing
defenders tend to push him out."
The 2.11-metre (6 ft 11 in) teenager, touted to become China's
fourth NBA player after Wang Zhizhi, Menk Bateer and Yao, is likely
to be a top pick at the NBA draft in June.
Media-friendly Yao, who speaks fluent English and once professed
a weakness for Starbucks frappuccinos, said Yi should embrace the
American lifestyle and "open his heart" to coaches, officials and
"You cannot ignore the cultural difference between eastern and
western countries, a lot of people have trouble with that... Good
communication will take some pressure off him," Yao said.
(Reuters via China Daily April 16, 2007)