Thu, Jun 09, 2011 - Page 18 News List

NBA: Yao says daughter inspiration for return

AFP, BEIJING

China’s star basketball player Yao Ming says he is banking on his baby daughter to motivate him to overcome injury and return to the court to hopefully win an NBA championship.

The injury-prone 30-year-old Houston Rockets center is recovering from a broken foot that kept him out of most of the 2010-2011 NBA season and is awaiting word from doctors on whether he will be able to play again.

“She is definitely a big motivation for me to continue my role as a player, although my foot still needs lots of treatment to meet the game’s demands,” the China Daily on Tuesday quoted Yao as telling state television. “I wish she could watch me play and even win a championship as she grows up and not only see through video highlights how her dad played before.”

Late last month, Yao brought his one-year-old daughter Amy to China for the first time and bought a new home in Shanghai, signaling a possible end to his NBA career.

On Friday last week, new Houston new coach Kevin McHale said he hopes the 2.26m center is able to return from injury and extend his playing days.

“We would all be really happy if Yao comes back to play and I hope he can,” McHale said. “He will give it his best shot. His body is going to dictate if he can come back and play. That’s all going to be laid out in the future.”

Yao played only five games last season and underwent surgery in January for a stress fracture in his left ankle, the latest in a series of injury setbacks that have dogged him in recent seasons.

With perennial All-Star Yao only playing a limited role, the Rockets have missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

Yao’s contract expires on June 30 but Rockets owner Leslie Alexander has said he would like to have Yao back if he is able to continue his NBA career.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

REUTERS, DALLAS

New Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson said on Tuesday he would “not tolerate excuses” when he takes the reins of the struggling franchise.

Jackson, 46, was hired on -Monday to replace Keith Smart, who went 36-46 in his only season as the Warriors’ coach.

The former NBA guard conceded he would “love to have size” on his team, but added that they could still win without a dominating presence in the paint.

Jackson, who will join the team at the conclusion of the NBA Finals where he is serving as a television analyst, said most teams do not have the height of Dallas’s seven-footers, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood and would need to find other ways to win games.

“I would be sitting here lying to you if I said that size does not matter,” he told reporters before Game 4 of the NBA finals between Dallas and the Miami Heat. “It certainly matters, but I’ll play lawyer, exhibit A, Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood. Everybody else is minimum size. So no more excuses.”

“Find a way to go out there and get it done by any means necessary. We will not tolerate excuses,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the Warriors, who have made the playoffs just once since 1994, already have some pieces in place that can reverse the fortunes of the struggling franchise.

“We have a great rebounder in David Lee, one of the best in the business,” he said. “We have guards with tremendous athletic ability on the offensive end, which tells me you can go get some rebounds. Collectively we will find a way to get it done.”

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