Yao Ming has always been one of my favorite basketball players. Dude was a class act throughout his NBA career and had one of the sweetest jumpers that I had ever seen from a big man.
So it comes as a surprise to me that I’ve been calling Yao by the wrong first name for as long as he’s been around the NBA.
Here’s the former Rockets center explaining how he was too shy to correct his teammates from calling by his actual first name, Ming.
There were a lot of big things that were different when I came to the NBA, but I remember the little things like that the most. For example, everyone called me “Yao” — they thought it was my first name. In China, our surnames come first and our given names last. To my Chinese friends, I was Ming. Now I was just Yao. Once everyone started saying it that way, I never corrected them. I was too shy.
My entire life has been a lie.