August 26, 2002
How Now Yao Carr?
by Bob Hulsey
Houston is blessed this year to have not one but two overall number one draft picks. If you’re reading this, you probably already know about Texans QB David Carr but you may be unaware that the NBA Houston Rockets also have a top choice in 7′-5" Yao Ming, a center playing for Communist China in the World Basketball Championships taking place this summer in North America. After much negotiation and endless bowing, the Rockets secured Ming for the coming NBA season. The two fledging superstars, the shining hopes for their franchises, had constrasting weeks:
Carr: Accepting the lumps of playing quarterback in the NFL on an expansion team with a crippled offensive line.
Yao: Accepting the lumps of playing center against NBA-sized players who lean in, push and throw elbows.
Carr: Adjusting to the fact that it gets darned hot and sticky outdoors in Houston.
Yao: Adjusting to cultural and language differences in the West along with something he never encountered in China – media hype.
Carr: Considered a huge upgrade over Kent Graham who is so terrible even his own teammates beat him up in practice.
Yao: Considered a huge upgrade over Kelvin Cato who is so terrible the Rockets can’t convince any other teams to trade for him.
Carr: Second round pick Jabar Gaffney because, well, quarterbacks need people who can catch the ball.
Yao: Fellow first-rounder Bostjan Nachbar – the "Slovenian Slasher" because Yao needs someone to swap notes with concerning these crazy Americans.
Carr: Opens play in brand-new Reliant Stadium, already considered the Taj Mahal of NFL play palaces.
Yao: Opens play in a brand-new downtown arena that will be happy to find a local sponsor who isn’t being bought out, under investigation or filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Carr: Making more money than he ever dreamed possible although most of it is going to the IRS, his agent or his wife.
Yao: Making more money than he ever dreamed possible although most of it is going back to the communist dictatorship in his homeland.
Carr: Married with child. Seems very comfortable about being "off the market".
Yao: Single, tall, rich, and 21. He will soon learn all about what that means to American women. He will no doubt learn many new words that aren’t available in Webster’s dictionary. The words "DNA testing" may become as important to him someday as the words "sky hook".
Recent Team Results
Carr: Blown out by the Chiefs and the Dolphins.
Yao: Blown out by Canada and the U.S.A. national teams.
Carr: Eight-for-15 against Kansas City and six-for-15 against Miami with a plethora of dropped balls.
Yao: Six-for-six against Canada, five-for-twelve against the U.S. with some impressive slam dunks and good touch from the foul line.
Carr: Three picks against the Chiefs and Dolphins.
Yao: Stats unavailable but reports are he was easily stripped and needs to hold the ball up higher when he is manning the high post.
Carr: Practices throwing over eight-foot ladders to improve the arc on his throws.
Yao: Teammates practice throwing over him.
Carr: Won’t feel any pressure to win a championship for the next three-to-five years but, afterwards, may find himself less adored by Houston’s fickle fans.
Yao: Won’t feel any pressure to win a championship for the next three-to-five years but, afterwards, may find himself less adored by New York’s fickle fans.
So you can see these two aspiring superstars have a lot in common but are, in some ways, worlds apart. One wonders what the results will be in ten years. Will Carr be the next Warren Moon or the next Gifford Neilsen? Will Yao be the next Hakeem Olajuwon or the next Ralph Sampson? Nobody knows but then nobody takes bets on how long weddings last during the honeymoon either. For now, I wish them both great success and a great accountant.
Bob Hulsey wishes for even one day he could be single, tall, rich and 21. And have a decent outside shot.
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