posted on Aug, 20 2004 @ 02:48 PM
Rockets center Yao Ming is being accused of disloyalty to China's Olympic team, according to a report in Toronto's Globe and Mail. And his actions
have reportedly made China reconsider sending its players to the NBA.
Chinese officials reacted strongly to Yao's negative comments about his teammates Thursday, suggesting the NBA in the United States has corrupted
their once "obedient child."
The report hinted China may "consider tighter restrictions" on Chinese players who want to play in the NBA, like heralded up-and-comer Yi Jianlian,
the 16-year-old who is seen as the next Yao.
"The Chinese Basketball Association will consider more deeply and carefully about sending players to the NBA again," one report said.
Yao was "an obedient child" with a "very good reputation," an official was quoted as saying. "Now, he has changed, he's more like an American, he
dares to say anything."
The 7-foot-6 center, who carried his nation's flag in the opening ceremonies, blasted his teammates after his team's 82-57 loss to Argentina on
"I'm disappointed in my teammates," Yao said. "We gave up at the end of the game. I don't think some of my teammates cherish the honor to play for the
country. ... Were they nervous? Or they would not take their responsibilities? We gave up easily every time we came across obstacles."
The comments sparked a harsh response from Chinese sports officials, who derided Yao for "splitting" the Chinese team with his "irresponsible"
"How could he say that?" one official was quoted as saying. "How could he say that the other players weren't trying their best? Any irresponsible
speech like his, any action to split the team, is definitely forbidden. This is the national team, this is the Olympics — any word by a player can
affect others and can create difficulties in future matches."
Many Chinese fans came to Yao's defense, saying the star was only being honest. "Yao Ming is not always right, but in this case he is absolutely
right," one fan wrote on a Chinese website. "The truth may hurt someone, but is it wrong to tell the truth?"
Against Argentina Yao was never a factor. China committed 15 turnovers and Yao was 1-for-7 from the field. Yao came into the game averaging 25.5
points and 10.5 rebounds. The center finished with 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting. China had a total of 23 turnovers and Argentina had a 40-29 rebound
China is one of four teams in Group A with a 1-2 record and it finishes against two of the others — Italy and reigning world champion
Serbia-Montenegro. China must win at least one to advance to next week's quarterfinals, something it has done only once in seven previous Olympic