The Power of Yao

I loved this piece written by Jeff Van Gundy this past September to mark Yao Ming’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. As coaches we are constantly searching for ways to impact our players, but in the end, they end up impacting us in much the same way (I know that’s certainly the case with me — Sean Armand, Matt MacDonald, Kyle Smyth, Sidney Sanders, and Mustafaa Jones, Aaron Calixte to just name a few). Van Gundy’s piece about Yao is to talk about how much the legendary center moved him and changed the way he thought about the game, and the world.

In his relentless approach to work and preparation, Yao was unlike anyone I had ever coached. It didn’t matter whether he had played great or poorly, whether we had won or lost: His preparation never changed. Not one day. I can still see him in the film room with my former assistant, Tom Thibodeau, in the early mornings on a practice day. Then onto the court for individual work; then team practice. And after everyone else had left, there was Yao back in the darkened film room, studying more tape


For more on Yao/Jeff Van Gundy:
-There’s some terrific insight into the dynamics of those Houston Rockets team in this article about Tracy McGrady. Great stuff in here from Van Gundy on the role of a star player (LINK)
-Yao Ming: My Rookie Year (LINK)
-Jeff Van Gundy clinic notes (LINK)
-Jeff Van Gundy defensive system edit (LINK)
-Jeff Van Gundy on being a champion (LINK)

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