Bryant salutes Yao impact on China’s NBA dreams

SHANGHAI, (Reuters) – Yao Ming has made it possible  for young Chinese basketball players to chase their NBA dreams  and the country will produce more top quality players in the  coming years, All Star guard Kobe Bryant said yesterday. Several reports in the media have said that injury-plagued  Yao will officially announce his retirement from the game at a  news conference today.

Yao Ming

China’s state television CCTV would run a four-hour program  on the player, including a live broadcast of the news conference  at a hotel in Yao’s hometown Shanghai, the official Xinhua news  agency reported.

Yao became arguably Asia’s biggest sports figure when he was  selected first overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA  draft.  “In terms of opening up doors for Chinese basketball players  to come to the NBA, or for the youth here in China to believe  that it’s possible to achieve the dream of being an NBA player,  all that started from Yao,” Los Angeles Lakers guard Bryant  said.

“The movement that started in the NBA of the influx of  European players coming to the NBA was started by Vlade Divac,  Dino Radja and those guys.  “Even that movement didn’t have the impact and magnitude  that Yao Ming has had. And on top of that, he’s just a heck of a  basketball player to boot,” Bryant, who is in China on a  promotional tour, added.

The seven-foot, six-inch (2.3-metre) Yao, an eight-times All  Star, has been plagued by assorted injuries in recent years and  missed the entire 2009-10 NBA season after suffering a fractured  bone in his left foot.

He played only five games for the Rockets last season before  being sidelined on Nov. 10 when he injured his ankle during the  a game.

Bryant felt Yao would leave a lasting legacy and more  Chinese players would make it to top-flight NBA teams.   “Since I have been coming here and doing clinics and  basketball camps with kids, you see the improvement year after  year and the determination to get better and the passion they  have for the game,” said Bryant.

“It’s just a matter of time.”

Latest in Basketball

Jasiel Rivero takes a jumper en route to his 15 points for Cuba in the final on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy Fiba Americas)

Bahamas crowned basketball champs, Guyana take out Barbados

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, CMC – The Bahamas crowned themselves Caribbean champions when they turned back a resilient Cuba in the final of the regional Basketball Championship here Saturday night.

Action in the game between Kings of Linden and Republic Bank Nets Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall. (Orlando Charles photo)

Road to Mecca begins with wins for Linden, G/town clubs

The ‘Road to Mecca’ began Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall with wins for Colts, Retrieve Raiders, Ravens and Kings as the new executive of the Guyana Amateur Basketball federation staged its first tournament a countrywide inter-club affair.

default placeholder

NBA round-up

Masked James leads Heat past Orlando (The Sports Xchange) – Indiana forward Paul George scored 10 points over the final four minutes, 20 seconds as the Pacers, the team with the best record in the NBA, beat the Boston Celtics 102-97.

default placeholder

Heat need rare win streak to keep NBA title hopes alive

SAN ANTONIO, (Reuters) – Stringing together a two-game win streak sounds routine for the reigning champion Miami Heat, but they have failed to do it for more than three weeks and must do so in the NBA Finals or risk losing their crown.

default placeholder

Pacers, Grizzlies win

(Sports Direct) – Roy Hibbert collected a post-season career-high 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as host Indiana Pacers won a defensive battle over the New York Knicks to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal with a 82-71 points win on Saturday.

default placeholder

Denver Nuggets stave off elimination

(Sports Direct) – Denver’s Andre Iguodala collected 25 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as the Nuggets forced a Game Six against Golden State with a 107-100 points win.

default placeholder

Slumping Clippers seeking solutions as Griffin hobbles out

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Clippers are sweating on the fitness of All-Star forward Blake Griffin, who aggravated an ankle injury during a first-round playoff loss to Memphis on Tuesday that leaves the team on the brink of elimination.

default placeholder

James leads Heat past Thunder in finals rematch

(Reuters) – LeBron James scored 29 points and flirted with a triple-double as the Miami Heat claimed a 103-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in a rematch of last season’s NBA finals on a Christmas Day schedule of five games.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: