But skill doesn’t equate to squat unless you’re playing with heart, playing with a harden since of urgency. Especially when you’re a big man because being a big man you can’t play soft.
Yao Ming’s biggest criticism has been that he is soft, has no fire in his belly, has nothing that will make him drop an elbow across your brow if you would to come into the paint. A softness that has on occasion, seen him looking at the drawstring of someone’s shorts as they dunk over him.
So the Rockets coaching staff hires Knicks legend Patrick Ewing to try to instill some toughness in him, a coaching move that also failed.
While everyone wanted to mold Yao into what they wanted a big man to be, maybe the solution was simple:
Let Yao be Yao.
In this, his fifth season in the Association, Yao is averaging 27.3 ppg and 10 rpg. both up from his career averages of 18 and nine. Yao’s strength is in fact his ball skills, skills that makes him one of the best skilled big men in NBA history.
Everyone wanted Yao to become every other center in the league, but what makes him unique is the same thing that doesn’t make him every other center in the league.
So this season, Yao is dominating not because he is Shaq, PE, Olajuwon, Russell, or Chamberlain.
It is because Yao is being Yao.