of the NBA season and it is not clear whether he will be fit in time to take part in the Olympic basketball competition.
For an interesting personal take on the significance of this set back take a look at Mary Nicole Nazzaro’s post on her Beijing Olympic Blog. Mary describes Yao as “China’s biggest international sports star…(I make the distinction “international” because hurdler Liu Xiang is arguably the most visible Olympic star inside China; but Yao is certainly the most recognized throughout the world)”. Would anyone disagree?
This will certainly be a huge blow to the the millions of Yao’s fans in his home nation. But let us not forget Yao too, who describes the idea of missing the Beijing Games as “ the biggest loss in my career to right now”.
Interestingly Nazzaro describes Yao as “an exemplary human being on and off the court”, which is slightly contrary to some articles that have appeared in the Chinese media labelling him as a ‘bad boy’. However Nazzaro’s comments paint an image of the clean-living, modest and supremely successful sport stars that so appeal to the Chinese public – hence Roger Federer’s huge following.