year of the yao

Director James D Stern, Adam Del Deo / 2004 / USA, China

Yao Ming is Houston's big man of basketball. The Houston Rockets drafted the seven-foot, six-inch Chinese national in 2002, amid considerable skepticism from the NBA hoops experts. The Year of the Yao follows this new giant of the sport through one of the most exciting rookie debut years that basketball has seen. The pressure on Yao was phenomenal. The 22-year-old endured not only the scrutiny that any rookie would, but weathered this along with culture shock and the expectations of a nation 1.2-billion strong! In Los Angeles Yao faced off with the game's dominant centre, the legendary Shaquille O'Neal.

"The Rockets hired a rookie translator, Colin Pine, to help Yao with the cultural adjustments, and this relationship provides the film with its emotional spine. Shaq provides the elbows. With the potential to develop into classic rivalry... the first showdown between Yao and Shaq is a riveting centrepiece here. However, it's Yao's gentler collisions with this new culture... and his quiet charisma which give The Year of the Yao its substantial charm." - Toronto Film Festival

D/P James Stern, Adam Del Dao WS NBA Entertainment L English, Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/col/2004/87mins

James Stern was born in Chicago, USA. His films include All the Rage (1999), Michael Jordan to the Max (co-dir.). Adam Del Dao was born in Arizona, USA. The Year of the Yao (MIFF 05) is his first feature documentary.

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