From the start the Chinese government planned to use Yao Ming as a propaganda tool. They treated their best athlete like an instrument to remind the world of China's greatness.
It practically mirrors the communist ideology where there's no place for the individual; every action a citizen takes is supposed to be for the improvement of the country. This ideology is programmed into Chinese kids from elementary stage and by the time these kids near adulthood, it becomes the norm to think of nationalism as the way of life.
You can't really blame Yao Ming for wanting to play for his country year after year. The pressure of being the best Chinese basketball player ever to enter the NBA was immense. If he had tried to take summers off after going through a grueling NBA season, Chinese everywhere would have criticized him for it. The government might have even gone as far as revoking his visa because of it.
The Rockets organization deserve some the blame too because they never once expressed their concern to the Chinese government. It almost seemed like they were scared to approach them on the subject. They quietly pocketed the merchandise sales they were getting as a result of Yao being a Rocket. They kept their mouth shut for fear of losing those dollars.
They sat back and let the Chinese government force Yao to play back to back world competitions following serious injuries. In both cases, Yao wasn't fully healed. Jeff Van Gundy was one of the few who publicly voiced his concerns over it.
Now word out of Houston is that the injury Yao suffered in the playoffs might force him to miss the entire coming season and might potentially be career threatening. We all saw this was coming. The Rockets and the Chinese government got nobody to blame but themselves. The only real loser in this are the fans (Chinese and rockets).
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