Operation Yao Ming by Brook Larmer
The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big Business, and the Making of an NBA Superstar

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The riveting story behind NBA giant Yao Ming, the ruthless Chinese sports machine that created him, and the East-West struggle over China’s most famous son.

The NBA’s 7‘6" All-Star Yao Ming has changed the face of basketball, revitalizing a league desperate for a new hero while becoming a multimillionaire pitchman for Reebok and McDonald’s. But his journey to America—like that of his forgotten foil, 7‘1" Wang Zhizhi—began long before he set foot on the world’s brightest athletic stage.

Operation Yao Ming opens with the story of the two boys’ parents, basketball players brought together by Chinese officials intent on creating a generation of athletes who could bring glory to their resurgent motherland. Their children would have no more freedom to choose their fates. By age thirteen, Yao was pulled out of sports school to join the Shanghai Sharks pro team, following in the footsteps of Wang, then the star of the People’s Liberation Army team. Rumors of the pair of Chinese giants soon attracted the NBA and American sports companies, all eager to tap a market of 1.3 billion consumers.

In suspenseful scenes, journalist Brook Larmer details the backroom maneuverings that brought China’s first players to the NBA. Drawing on years of firsthand reporting, Larmer uncovers the disturbing truth behind China’s drive to produce Olympic champions, while also taking readers behind the scenes of America’s multibillion-dollar sports empire. Caught in the middle are two young men—one will become a mega-rich superstar and hero to millions, the other a struggling athlete rejected by his homeland yet lost in America.


About Brook Larmer

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Published November 3, 2005 by Gotham. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Young Adult. Non-fiction

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Newsweek's Shanghai bureau chief tells dynamically the story of two Chinese basketball stars who made their ways to the NBA through the thickets of Middle Kingdom politics.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Operation Yao Ming: The Chine...

Publishers Weekly

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The 7'5" Yao Ming didn't get where he is today because of some lucky genes and a good three-point shot. Everything about him, from birth to first endorsement deal, was planned by a conf

Aug 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Operation Yao Ming: The Chine...

Publishers Weekly

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Basketball has been popular in China since the late 19th century, so a government with a Soviet-style, militaristic sports system intent on creating world-class athletes thought little of mating its tallest athletes in an attempt to pass on their genes.

Aug 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Operation Yao Ming: The Chine...

Asian Review of Books

... REVIEW | 4 February 2015 .... Having read Brook Larmer's book Operation Yao
Ming: The Chinese Sports Empire, American Big ... In 1998, Yao Ming learnt to
slam dunk in America and it took him weeks of performing soft but ...

Jan 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Operation Yao Ming: The Chine...

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