On Monday night the Sundance Channel presented a documentary entitled "The Year of the Yao". This film was one of the channel's regularly scheduled Monday documentaries and was followed by the often-aired Hoop Dreams. (It must have been basketball night at the Sundance Broadcasting Network.) "The Year of the Yao" chronicled Yao Ming's rise to NBA superstardom during his first season. Featuring exclusive interviews with everyone from former Yao teammate Steve Francis, Yao's American translator, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, to, of course, Yao himself, "The Year of Yao" showed Yao being Yao everywhere from Bejing to Best Buy.
Although I missed the first hour of the hour and a half broadcast, what I did see was really good. I tuned in right as Yao was squaring off against Shaq and the Lakers for the first time. Then I watched as Yao made his first all-star game, experienced his first playoff run, missed the playoffs, and headed back to China for the off-season. Hopefully I get to see the documentary in its entirety soon.
I find it hard to believe Yao Ming's rookie season was 2002-03. That long ago. Sometime in the very near future, after Shaq calls it a career, Yao will be the premier big man in the league. The torch will be passed to Yao, Dwight Howard, and possibly, just maybe, Greg Oden. But Oden is too much of a question mark at this point, and Howard is a power forward/center, not a true center. That leaves Yao.
I definitely see an MVP or two at some point in Yao's career, and maybe even a part on a championship team. Not bad for a guy Tony Kornheiser orginally said would just be a "stick man".
(By the way, I know The Tar Heel posted a Yao-centric post on YaySports! today as well, but mine is about his movie, not his Arabic.)