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Yi vs Yao, the Yin and Yang of Chinese Basketball  by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Yi vs Yao, the Yin and Yang of Chinese Basketball

  Last Friday, 200 million people in China watched an NBA game when two NBA Chinese natives – Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian -- were against each other when the Houston Rockets played the Milwaukee Bucks.

    I know what you’re saying: Wow! 200 million people in China watching a basketball game? Wow, that’s almost the number of Chinese who attend UCLA and Stanford combined! Wow! That’s twice the number of Chinese it took to build that wall! Wow! That’s more bones than Jackie Chan breaks in a movie.  

    The Houston Rockets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 104 to 88. Both Chinese players played well. Put another way, of all the Chinese products in the US, Yi and Yao have gone the longest without a recall.

    But that’s not the cool part.  The cool part is Yi, claiming to be 20, seven-foot-tall power forward who may be the fastest player on his team, may have lied about his age. Many think his birth certificate was falsified so he could play in junior tournaments. So he may be 3 to 5 years older than claimed. Here’s the quandary. If Yi is 20, he has much more upside than at 25. If he’s 25 then the accomplishments he achieved against younger opponents may be suspect. If he’s 25 and it’s perceived he has weaknesses such as rebounding then it’s also assumed it’s too late to correct them. Yi’s age will also affect his work Visa. He is here on an “O-1 visa” designed for a person of extraordinary ability in his field. If he lies about his age, he could face deportment. If he works (plays basketball) in some states with new tough anti-immigration rules he could not only face deportment, his employers could face felonies for letting him play basketball.  

    The Chinese Basketball Association is reluctant discuss the age issue. But they have admitted that at times they included overage players in international junior tournaments. If they falsified ages, in the case of Yi, Milwaukee may be getting a player with less upside than expected. But also, the Association may have abided a lie, making Yi, if his age were a lie, subject to recall. For that matter, we might discover these giant Chinese basketball players may be coated in lead. Okay, that’s a joke. Not every Chinese product is covered with lead. Only those sold at Wal-Mart.
Yi vs Yao, the Yin and Yang of Chinese Basketball  by Stan Silliman humor sports comedy cartoons articles
    Here’s another cool thing. If the United States challenges the authenticity of his passport, an official document of China, Yi’s boss could be in a bit of hot water. China could also be in hot water, but hey, they’d just make tea.  Let’s just say, if there is a passport challenge, the Milwaukee Bucks would not be pleased about it. Jianlian has been scoring almost 17 points per game, shooting at a high percentage rate and in addition you’ve got these millions of Chinese television viewers who have been more excited about watching Yi since he is a more all around and better shooting player than Yao. And if you have 200 million people watching, there is a vested interest in not having him deported. More than that as we said, this puts  the owner, Herb Kohl, of the Milwaukee Bucks in a difficult spot. You see, the owner is also Senator Kohl, the guy with the department stores, the same senator who voted “Yes” on the comprehensive immigration reform bill. The bill that puts up a fence, monitors workplace enforcement, doubles the border patrols and disallows food stamps for children of illegal immigrants. But Herb Kohl will also say that same bill allows visas for skilled workers and if you are a pro in basketball, that’s a high skill. However, the same bill says the visas MUST be truthful and state the correct age.

    Yi’s visa lists his birth date as Oct 27, 1987 and claims he was born in Heshan City yet Jianlian’s father says he moved away from that town in 1983 and his mother moved in 1985. There is much more evidence to pin his birth year at 1984 or earlier. There is even more evidence to indicate that David Stern and Herb Kohl would prefer I stopped writing about…

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