By Brook Larmer
The riveting tale in the back of NBA massive Yao Ming, the ruthless chinese language activities computer that created him, and the East-West fight over China’s most famed son.
The NBA’s 7‘6" All-Star Yao Ming has replaced the face of basketball, revitalizing a league determined for a brand new hero whereas turning into a multimillionaire pitchman for Reebok and McDonald’s. yet his trip to America—like that of his forgotten foil, 7‘1" Wang Zhizhi—began lengthy prior to he set foot at the world’s brightest athletic level.
Operation Yao Ming opens with the tale of the 2 boys’ mom and dad, basketball avid gamers introduced jointly by way of chinese language officers motive on making a new release of athletes who may possibly carry glory to their resurgent motherland. Their young children might don't have any extra freedom to decide on their fates. by way of age 13, Yao was once pulled out of activities university to hitch the Shanghai Sharks professional crew, following within the footsteps of Wang, then the celebrity of the People’s Liberation military group. Rumors of the pair of chinese language giants quickly attracted the NBA and American activities businesses, all wanting to faucet a industry of 1.3 billion shoppers.
In suspenseful scenes, journalist Brook Larmer info the backroom maneuverings that introduced China’s first avid gamers to the NBA. Drawing on years of firsthand reporting, Larmer uncovers the worrying fact in the back of China’s force to provide Olympic champions, whereas additionally taking readers backstage of America’s multibillion-dollar activities empire. stuck within the heart are younger men—one turns into a mega-rich big name and hero to thousands, the opposite a suffering athlete rejected by way of his place of origin but misplaced in America.
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Extra info for Operation Yao Ming: The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big Business, and the Making of an NBA Superstar
As China prepares for the 2008 Olympics, the strain is much more severe, the trainer says, particularly since it is now observed via an both vehement call for to not reason one other drug scandal. “Now the message is: ‘Win the gold, yet no matter what you do, don’t fail your drug assessments. ’ ” And what concerning the athletes themselves? during this age of multimilliondollar endorsement contracts and cutthroat festival, many athletes round the world—including american citizens, because the contemporary BALCO scandal has shown—are prepared to take a banned drug to enhance their instant functionality whether it hazards a scandal or illnesses down the road. yet chinese language athletes, even this present day, have little freedom to settle on something of their lives, less the type of performance-enhancing routine they need to keep on with. In approximately each activities institution and coaching focus on China, athletes are nonetheless given day-by-day tablets, powders, and potions that they can’t refuse—and frequently can’t determine. nationwide table-tennis avid gamers education in Beijing line up after perform to drink a cup of blue liquid below the watchful eye in their coaches. Basketball avid gamers in Shanghai are given a chocolate-flavored powder that their coaches say will increase their power. (During Yao’s time, while the complement didn’t have its candy style, the avid gamers referred to as it “stinky powder” due to its rancid smell. ) in line with “big-ball” athletes in Shanghai of their twenties, the 96 • B ROOK L ARMER stimulants are doled out on a sliding scale: the higher the athlete, the stronger the dosage. the main complete avid gamers, they acknowledged, are given crimson tablets whose deleterious aspect effects—liver, abdominal, and kidney damage—are counteracted via a cocktail of conventional chinese language medications. the opposite part influence, stated one, isn't really so disagreeable. “The pills,” he says, “make you need to have intercourse forever, even after a difficult perform. ” no longer some time past, a international authentic tried handy out a pamphlet informing chinese language athletes they had definitely the right to decline either to medications, whose telltale unwanted effects the pamphlet defined, and to the learning itself. yet chinese language coaches, besides different foreigners who didn't wish to offend Beijing, refused to permit the literature be allotted. “The athletes don't know what they're being given, and so they were proficient from an early age by no means to decline to their superiors,” says one Beijing insider who's accustomed to the activities practices in all the significant provinces. “ ‘Don’t worry,’ the trainer tells them, ‘maybe this can offer you a bit a mustache or a deeper voice, yet that would disappear after your time. ’ It’s frightening, yet you've all of those athletes scattered round the nation education with a host of medical professionals who will do something to win. ” The thick black computing device consistently stayed locked up within the heart drawer of the scientist’s wood table. just one key to the drawer existed, and Wei Guoping—an affiliate researcher on the Shanghai activities know-how Institute—kept it with him normally, in his entrance correct trouser pocket.