The Great Wall of Yao

Revisiting incredible stories from Yao Ming’s biography

Whenever I talk to someone about basketball, one question I always get asked is “You’re from New York right, so why are you a fan of the Houston Rockets?” Well, two words. Yao Ming. 

Yao inspired me to start following basketball roughly 14 years ago, and even though he retired in 2011, I will always be a Rockets fan first and Knicks fan second. Yao has written two books – a biography in 2004 on his rookie season, and “A Journey in Africa (Chinese Edition)” in 2014 advocating wildlife animal protection.

After reading Yao Ming’s Players Tribune article, I re-read his 2004 biography, YAO: A Life in Two Worlds, last week and found a lot of interesting stories, ideas and quotes that I think readers will really appreciate.

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#ForgottenFridays – Von Wafer

Revisiting players who have quietly disappeared from the league.

In this weekly series, we revisit players who were once valuable contributors and maybe even well known during their NBA careers, but have since quietly disappeared from the league. The kind of players who make you go “Oh yeah! I remember that guy”.

This week, we will cover Houston Rockets fan favorite – Von Wafer.

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A Dream Deferred

Thoughts on Kevin Durant joining the Warriors

moment of silence for my dreams

Sigh…

To be honest, that dream looked more and more shaky watching the Thunder take the Western Conference by storm.

When I started writing my little pitch on Durant joining the Celtics I assumed the Thunder would get pummeled by the then immortal Spurs. I was hopeful that the resulting semifinal exit would be enough to steer Durant away from the Thunder and the Western Conference altogether, and it really looked like that would be the case after the blowout win by the Spurs in game 1.  I was sure that Durant would be watching the Western Conference Finals—the match-up we all thought would happen—from the sad comfort of his home. That didn’t happen.

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Rock Chalk

Could we end up having a Thunder-Raptors NBA Finals?

Before the Conference Finals started, the overall consensus was that the Warriors and Cavaliers would advance and meet up in a re-match of last year’s NBA Finals. After all, the better team usually wins in a best of 7 series and both the Cavs and Warriors had home-court advantage over the Raptors and Thunder, respectively. The Cavaliers had just swept the Hawks while the Raptors were coming off two grueling seven game series and missing their starting Center Jonas Valanciunas. And no one was beating 73-win Golden State in a best-of-7 series without home-court advantage.

Then, a funny thing happened: OKC stole Game 1. Then, coming off a game 2 rout at the hands of the Dubs, they eviscerated the defending champs in Game 3. Then, coming off back-to-back routs at the hands of the Cavs, the Raptors evened up the Eastern Conference Finals at 2 games apiece, with an injured JV now waiting in the wings to steal a crucial Game 5 in Cleveland. Could the unthinkable happen? Could we end up having a Thunder-Raptors NBA Finals?

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The Second Coming: A Celtics Fan’s Dream

Why Kevin Durant should wear Green

Another exciting Celtics season capped by another disappointing first round exit. Just when I thought we were primed for a deeper playoff push, the last minute four-way regular season tie left us without home court, an unfavorable matchup with the Hawks (1-3 in regular season), and the unfortunate loss of Avery Bradley in the first game of the series. The rest is in the books and I’m not here to relive a painful Game 5 shellacking or a Game 6 brick fest at home. Instead, I’m here to look ahead and do what fans do best when their teams are knocked out early: make wild speculations about the off-season, play fantasy GM, and pretend to know what I’m talking about. And to kick off this deeply scientific and non-biased dive into what-ifs, We Need to Talk About Kevin…

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Q&A with John Salmons’ former high school teammate

Nishu Jani is a graduate of Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, PA where he played with John Salmons for three years on the school’s varsity basketball team. He is currently a risk advisory consultant in NYC. His full bio can be found here.

Hi Nishu. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Can you tell us a little about your past relationship with John Salmons?
I met John when he was 13 and we played against each other in the Keystone State Invitational Games, an invitation only basketball camp in Pennsylvania. John was only about 5 11′ at the time. In the next two years he grew 8 inches. He had a good handle though which helped him when he grew taller. We were the same age so when he transferred to my high school the following year, we knew each other and became friends. I still remember his message in my yearbook about this locker room joke we had. John and I played 3 years of varsity basketball together at Plymouth Whitemarsh, I joined the varsity team as a sophomore for the playoffs because I was known for hustle and defense and toughness. John was a quiet guy, he focused on his game and was a good student. He occasionally hung out with my friend circle senior year outside of school.  He had a charming personality and was loyal.

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