Year Of The Yao
Honored as the No. 1 Draft Pick in 2002, Yao has proven to all and sundry that the Houston Rockets were right in choosing him then. Just last Wednesday, the sports community was abuzz with the news that he had re-signed with the Rockets (netting him a very, very cool $80 million) for 5 years. Sure, the Chinese government collects half of his salary and he is obligated to play for the national team to this very day, but I am pretty sure he couldn't care less.
Look how his career has skyrocketed. At present, he is a big thing, maybe even the biggest thing, in China. I hear he's everywhere, endorsing products here and there - rightly so since many young lads now look up to him as their hero. Remember that China currently has a 1.3 billion population. Translate that into marketing numbers and you'll get to see why it is the second largest economy in the world today. To advertisers in his home country, Yao is a veritable god. And they say he's a nice fellow off-court, too.
All this talk about The Man makes me want to see his film - another testament to his immense popularity (hey, has Shaq's or Lebron's life been documented?). Best be checking out the DVD stalls tomorrow...
Check out his official site here.