Yao Ming Attends Nate Robinson's Block Party
Recently had a conversation with a friend about Yao Ming, and what made said conversation noteworthy was when my friend pointed out that, though Yao is playing at a very high level, there’s really nothing more awkward-looking than when he turns the ball over, and at times, it looks like there’s nothing easier in the world than slapping the ball out of his hands.
This was noteworthy because those very words proved prophetic on Monday night, when Knicks’ guard Nate Robinson absolutely packed a Yao dunk attempt with his left hand.
Things you need to know about this:
- Nate Robinson is listed at 5-9 but he’s probably shorter. Yao is listed at 7-6 and he’s probably 7-6.
- Robinson is not left-handed.
- Robinson is an incredible leaper, but he is not in any way, shape or form a shot-blocker. The block on Yao was his third career block in his 84th NBA game. That’s right -- third block. Ever.
- Also, if you watch the video closely, it’s not like Nate Robinson (great leaper that he is) had to climb to superhuman heights to turn Yao away at the rim. He got the ball right when it was near the bottom of the backboard. Which is to say, Nate Robinson blocked Yao Ming without even having to jump his absolute highest.
- The moment after he got blocked, Yao doubled over and grabbed his face. Though from watching the video it’s clear that Robinson may have followed through and hit Yao in the face after blocking the shot, the image of Yao doubling over is comical in that it is emblematic of a man who has just been delivered one of the worst facials in history.
The bottom line is this: Yao Ming is a great player, but he way too often looks like another guy his height who made getting posterized a way of life. Someone needs to toughen Yao up. I’m thinking it’s high time Jeff Van Gundy, Dikembe Mutombo and maybe Rafer Alston take the big fella out into the wilderness and run him through a series of grueling activities (pushing boulders, herding cattle, meaninglessly swinging a pick axe, etc.) while some sort of motivational soundtrack from an 80’s movie plays in the background.
Whatever the case, I think the Rockets and Yao Ming need to call a press conference to detail some sort of game plan for how they’re going to deal with this incident. Their man in the middle has been embarrassed, and something needs to be done. I almost think there needs to be a staged scenario in Houston Town Square (not that such a place exists) where Nate Robinson agrees to let Yao dunk on his head on a 9-foot goal, just so that we can be sure that Yao’s psyche isn’t fractured beyond repair.
- And speaking of facials, how about the dunk that Warriors’ guard Monta Ellis served up on Leandro Barbosa Monday night? The caption on this Youtube clip is “monta ellis DESTROYS barbosa,” and that just about sums it up. Watching the game live I can honestly say that was one of the most electrifying sports moments I can recall in recent memory. And give the Warriors’ TV announcers (and fans) credit for rising to the moment as well.
- Transitioning to perhaps the only thing that’s more uncomfortable than being blocked or dunked on by an undersized NBA guard, Trail Blazers’ center Joel Przybilla recently had surgery to remove a hematoma from his lower abdomen. Don’t know about the rest of you, but something about the juxtaposition of “hematoma” and “lower abdomen” is enough to make me double over like Yao did after Nate Robinson swatted his shot.