Yao Ming says Jeremy Lin could change Chinese basketball

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It’s been one of the most commonly asked questions about Jeremy Lin — how did he slip through the cracks of the system

This is a guy who was one of the most dominant high school players in the Bay Area but couldn’t get a major college scholarship offer and went to Harvard. After four years there he couldn’t get drafted by NBA teams. He went to Summer League and showed real promise, but languished on the Warriors bench for a year, then they cut him. Then the Rockets cut him. The Knicks sent him to the D-League (where he racked up a triple-double) and he only got his chance there because of injuries.

How did this happen?

Yao Ming is asking the same thing about China, he said to Reuters.

“This is something else that Jeremy Lin has brought to us. It has given us something to reflect on, whether there are imperfections over the development and selection process for our basketball players over the past 10 or 20 years,” he told Reuters in an interview.

Yao said he was aware of Lin — who is an American, a first generation of Taiwanese descent — but did not offer him advice.

“First, New York and Houston are different. Also, the cultures of the two basketball teams are different, the cities are different, the teammates he faces are different, so I don’t wish to tell him too much.

“If I do so, perhaps I will give him too much pressure.”

That pressure is on Lin now, but he is handling it incredibly well.