Counting on a 7-Footer to Reach New Fans

From New York Times:

Amid a bustling Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, Ken Niu is among the many only-when-it-is-convenient basketball fans. He catches a game when he can, but is not necessarily disappointed when he cannot.

Niu is a target for the Nets, the type of observer who just may be lured to East Rutherford, N.J., for the first time by the presence of , a 7-foot forward from Guangdong Province in southern China entering his second N.B.A. season.

“It’s like having another neighbor,” Niu, 26, said through an interpreter, between bites of spicy beef tripe. “There’s one Yao Ming. Now there’s a Yi.”

Yi’s name recognition runs high, and people in Chinatown said they would go watch him, if time and funds allow it, but would not necessarily go out of their way to cross the Hudson River.


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