Yao Ming's Houston Rockets defeated Yi Jianlian's Milwaukee Bucks 104-88 in a game that was viewed in breathless anticipation by millions of Chinese and with mild interest by hundreds of Americans.
"His talent is unbelievable," Yao said. "You ask me how good he can be? I can't say that. But I think he'll be better than me." When asked why he thought Yi would surpass him in the future, Yao thought for a moment. "I'm older," Yao said with a smile . . . About 90 minutes before the game, Yao and Yi shook hands at midcourt and posed for about two dozen photographers, most of them Chinese. It was a staged photo opportunity, and Yao had to wait a few minutes before Yi came out of the Bucks locker room. "You know what?" Yao said afterward, with a kidding smile. "Rookies should not do that."
Ah, those inscrutable Chinese. You never know when they're mocking you. Like when you're at a fine Chinese restaurant and your companion orders General Tso's chicken, and the waiter shouts back to the kitchen, "Number 32!". He then looks at you and asks, "What you want? I haven't got all day." You tell him that you're in the mood for something different, but not too spicy, something with maybe vegetables and chicken. "I make something very special for you," the waiter says, and then you hear him shout to the kitchen, "32 with peanut!" Oh wait, is it the Japanese that are inscrutable? -KD
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