- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Frog Books (September 9, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1583940901
- ISBN-13: 978-1583940907
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,767,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Tao of Yao: Insights from Basketball's Brightest Big Man Paperback – September 9, 2003
From Publishers Weekly
In this clever twist on the traditional sports biography, Chin focuses on the 7'5'' Yao Ming, the Chinese-born basketball star whose skills during his first year playing with the NBA's Houston Rockets were nothing short of remarkable. Chin (author of the graphic novel Nine of One) deftly weaves Yao's biography and the events of his first season as Houston's number-one draft pick with an explanation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching-along with numerous quotes from this venerable Chinese philosophical classic-as a way of explaining the phenomenon of a player who is "redefining how Asians could view themselves, as well as the image of the athlete in modern society." Chin is a skilled writer with an obvious love of basketball who provides compelling insights into Yao's skills, such as how his role as the linchpin for both the Rockets' offense and defense makes him, in a Taoist sense, the "anti-center"-"Embodying the qualities of water, he is fluid as much as fixed." But Chin sometimes overreaches, such as in his view that "[b]y understanding the basic Taoist relationship between difficult and easy, Yao was able to draw upon Lao's timeless wisdom for comfort in the here and now." A player like Yao who signs a $200,000 endorsement deal with Nike can be seen as far more Western than Eastern, a point which Chin himself makes in other good observations about Houston's expanding Asian-American community and the remarkable media savvy that Yao has shown when dealing with NBA superstars like Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.
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"Oliver Chin's enlightening spin on the man who's at the forefront of the cultural changes happening in the NBA and the world is a slam dunk."
-Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle
"Yao Ming has the attitude--and altitude--to become an NBA great. Chin captures the personality of this special giant. The Tao of Yao...wow!"
-Dave Newhouse, Oakland Tribune
Top customer reviews
there are some great chapters on other players and the tie-in to Chinese literature and Taoism is clever, at times. However, I found it repetitive that almost every chapter went on and on about how great Yao will be. I have no doubt that this is true, but do we have to hear that from every player, legend, or sports caster that the book interviewed?
Overall, it was interesting but I would have liked to hear more about his youth, childhood and upbringing rather than chapter after chapter of his "potential."
The main topic in this book is the history of China, along with a few past quotes from Yao thrown in every once in awhile. I find it ridiculous how they need to make a book that was supposed to be about Yao into nothing but a history lesson for us. That's like if I were to go to some foreign country, become a famous basketball player, have a book written about me, and have it include nothing but American history. People buy books to learn about the person, not the country he's from.
The many quotes included was another bad decision which shouldn't have been in the book. Yao pretty much says almost the exact same thing in each one of his quotes (something along the lines of "I'm so honored to be playing in America and am really enjoying my time here".) I'd say there's about 60 quotes in "The Tao of Yao", so this can get boring pretty fast. Simply put, there's very few redeeming factors in this book and Yao Ming fans will most likely be disappointed.
Chin does a marvelous job of blueprinting how Yao's impact on the NBA scene is more profound than many thought possible.