Making an impression down under 西方留名
During his '98-'99 season in the CBA, both Ming's mental and physical game rose to a whole new level. He averaged 20.9 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, while leading his Sharks all the way to fourth place in the rankings. In 1999, Yao was added to the Chinese men's national team and the following year, he competed alongside the rest of China's elite players during the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Australia. It was during this time in his early career as a star player that Yao faced off against true NBA talent. Not only did he rise to the occasion, he made an emphatic statement in doing so.
During his encounter with the almighty U.S. Dream Team, Yao proved himself as a force to be reckoned with by rejecting shot attempts from two of the United States' finest, Gary Payton and Vince Carter. The big man left a big impression on the big, bad competition.
Once the American players and fans finally got a taste of Yao Ming, the big question on everyone's mind was whether or not the Chinese sensation would ever make his way into the NBA. After much speculation and lengthy negotiations between the Sharks, the Chinese Government and the NBA, Yao was finally admitted into the NBA draft for the 2002-2003 season.
Big bucks for a big man 收入颇丰
On draft day, the Houston Rockets selected Yao Ming to join the ranks as a Rocketman, but due to further negotiations between the NBA and the Shanghai Sharks, the big man had to wait until October 2002. At this time, the Rockets signed Ming to a four-year, $17.8 million US contract.
Yao Ming's debut season in the NBA proved to be nothing short of spectacular. Alongside fellow star teammate Steve Francis and under the wing of coach Rudy Tomjanovich, Ming helped the Houston Rockets morph into an opposing threat in a league dominated by today's top teams, including the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers.
During his first few months in the NBA, Yao dazzled fans with career-high performances including 30 points against the Dallas Mavericks on November 27, 2002 and 18 rebounds against the Spurs on December 1, 2002. The 7'5" center also earned enough fan votes to beat out Shaquille O'Neal as the starting center for the Western team at this year's NBA All-Star game.
Yo! Yao... 干得好！姚明
During the off-season, Yao has returned home to China to practice and prepare for the upcoming NBA season. In proving himself as a true team player - not just when it comes to basketball, but also in the game of life - Yao will help his country this summer in its battle against SARS. He already hosted a telethon in his hometown of Shanghai in an effort to raise money for research on the mysterious deadly syndrome. Thanks to his rising popularity, Ming can also be seen on the tube, appearing in commercials for Apple Computers and Visa Check Card.
sharpshooter n. 神射手；神投手（投篮）
lanky adj. 瘦长的
Indianapolis n. 印第安纳波利斯（美国印第安纳州首府）
speculation n. 思索
beat out v. 击败；胜过
All-Star game 全明星赛
off-season n. 停赛季
telethon n. （为募捐等播放的）电视马拉松，超长时间电视节目
syndrome n. 综合病症
Check Card 提款卡与信用卡的合体