In this week's ESPN The Mag, Oakley Brooks uncovered a little tidbit about a certain group of 37 teenagers (5 of them over 7-feet, including Yi Jianlian
) from China, spotted at a Rockets-Blazers game and currently training at the U.S. Basketball Academy in Oregon:
"From a skills perspective, they don't have to apologize to anyone," says Cameron Hill, a former assistant at Kentucky who's overseeing the Chinese ballers' six-month stay...Still, [they] lack fundamentals, particularly when it comes to lifting weights and running a standard half-court spread. That's why Chinese officials sent their best to the West.
I humbly submit that the missing ingredient is not the fundamentals as described. It is good old-fashioned adversity
The mental aspect of the game is very complex, but it all starts with adversity, overcoming a challenge that you as a balla take personally. In the NBA, sometimes it's the difficulties of growing up in the inner-city that propels one's desire to succeed. Everyone has to find their own fuel, not matter what level you're at.
For me, it was simply being demoted from starting floor general to 3rd-string point guard in 9th grade -- this was before I sprouted 9 inches to 5'11" one year later -- after being yelled at as an idiot in front of the entire gym by my coach in preseason
for forgetting the defensive switch from zone to man, crushing my confidence for years. I then slowly climbed my way back to starting small forward as a senior. With local playground ball still part of my staple, even as I left town for college I still vowed to become better than any of the starters that had been ahead of me or go-to guys throughout all those years, just in case I ever saw one of my old alums on the blacktop.
In the game of basketball, everyone has to find their own fuel. I'm not sure the Chinese basketball academies
realize that.On a side note, here's the illustration from Frank Stockton that accompanied the article. It's not particularly helpful in breaking down the stereotypes of Chinese/Asian ballas: http://www.frankstockton.com/espn.html
Labels: asian, chinese, yi jianlian