Synopsis by Mark Deming
While the traditional American stereotype of people from China portrays them as short, studious, and not especially athletic, Yao Ming turned that image on his head -- standing seven foot six, Yao became the most talked about player in professional basketball when he signed to play with the Houston Rockets in 2002, the first Chinese émigré to play in the NBA. Yao was largely unknown when he first suited up with the Rockets, and many were skeptical about his abilities, especially when he displayed an unsure command of the American style of basketball in his early games. But Yao soldiered on, and by the end of the season he was proving his detractors wrong, among them player-turned-sportscaster Charles Barkley, who once on air promised to kiss the rear end of one of his fellow television commentators if Yao ever scored 19 points in a game -- and had to make good on the pledge when Yao managed the feat. The Year of the Yao is a documentary (produced in part by the NBA) which looks at Yao Ming's first season with the Rockets, how he adapted to American basketball, his relationship with his family and teammates, and what his success means to fans in the United States and China.
basketball, charisma, Chinese [nationality], culture-shock, humility, media-circus, NBA (National Basketball Association), public-eye, rival, rookie, sports-star, stereotype, translator