China's biggest sports star Yao Ming has dismissed as "ridiculous" an
Internet report linking him to an American actress because she is nearly 28
inches (70 cm) shorter than him.
The 7ft-6in (2.29m) Houston Rockets centre, who is currently
sidelined with a knee injury, was reported to have dated 5ft 2in Nia Long, a
film and television actor.
Yao told Titan sports newspaper's Web site that he had read the story on
another Web site with his basketball star girlfriend, Ye Li, by his side.
"Isn't it too ridiculous?" he said. "I saw the news on Internet. The writer
is so good at hoaxes. What's that? She's only 1.57m. I'm 2.26m. Does it sound
The report said Yao had first seen Long in the 1990s television series "The
Fresh Prince of Bel Air", in which she played the love interest of Will Smith's
Long has also acted in comedy film series "Big Momma's House" as well as TV
series "Soul Food" and "Judging Amy".
"I have never heard of the name of her movie," Yao said. "Were there so many
foreign movies in China when I was a kid?"
Yao's long-term girlfriend Ye, a more suitable 6ft 2in (1.90m), is a centre
for China's female basketball team.
"Ye Li is now living with him. Anybody who has commonsense will not believe
such a rumour," Yao spokesman Zhang Mingji told Titan.