Childhood - born to be different

By Jeff Pan (
Updated: 2007-03-01 16:42

Yao Ming was born to be different.

According to Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital, Yao was five kilos at birth on September 12, 1980, almost twice of a normal infant.

It's not really surprising considering both of his parents are pretty tall and basketball players in Chinese national teams.

Yao Zhiyuan, Yao Ming's father, stands 2.08 meters. He was originally a worker, and later selected to play in Shanghai Basketball Team because of his height. Yao Ming's mother Fang Fengdi is 1.88 meter tall. At the age of 15, she went to Shanghai Sports Team, where she made rapid improvements. Later she was selected to the Chinese National Team as the starting center in the 1970s.

When Yao was four years old, he was already above one meter, and his height reached 1.7 meter at the age of eight. By the time he was 13 years old, he was already above two meters.

For a kid standing so tall, his life in the primary school, where the "law of jungle" applies, could be very easy, or very hard. But the interesting thing is that Yao has never bullied anyone, or being bullied. He was a little bit introvert, and loved to meditate and stay with himself.

Yao's mother took him to call on a famous basketball coach when Yao was 12 years old. The coach told her that Yao was not going to be a good basketball player, because his body was not well-structured for this game and his balance was not good enough.

Because of his characteristics, Yao loved to read ancient Chinese books even when he was young. He later developed fervent interest in Chinese writer Lu Xun, who was known to be very critical and deep in his thoughts.

When the Chinese National Team was crushed by the Spanish in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, Yao was discouraged and lost confidence in CNT, and used Lu Xun's famous quote to express his anger, "If you don't break out in silence, you will die out in silence."

According to Yao's father, Yao had a passion for geology as a kid, inspired by a vision that he could be archeologist so that he could travel around the world. Later, Yao became addicted with plane models, and the models were also the first thing he bought at first time he earned his salary at Shanghai Sports Team. After that, he loved playing video games.

When Yao talked about his unfinished ambition of a archeologist, he had a reason for that, "I always wanted to be an archeologist, and have adventures around the globe. Of course, that will be a big problem if I have to throw myself into the small archeological caves."

Just as every kid would do, Yao's mother remembered Yao also took money from her pocket without her permission for the expense of video games. However, Yao' mother did not blame her son when she discovered that, and gave him some pocket money instead.

Yao's mother was proud of his son she had brought up, "the only thing I worried is he would fall into some bad habits. I know some professional basketball players drink, smoke, gamble, and play around with girls. When Yao Ming left home at the age of 13, he had none of these bad habits."

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