Yao Ming: American Idol

Updated: February 7, 2003, 9:47 AM ET
By By Ric Bucher, ESPN The Magazine
As harbingers go, this is a doozy. Yao Ming is enjoying his new favorite getaway from the swirl that has engulfed him since he landed in Houston four months ago: slowly circling the Westside Tennis Club's parking lot in his week-old silver Toyota Sequoia. This is the Rockets' practice site. It's also Yao's training ground as a driver, since he has yet to earn his license.

As Yao rolls past the crowd of reporters and onlookers that gathers wherever he appears, he does a look-no-hands maneuver and smiles a smile that needs no translation before pulling into a space and carefully shifting into park. That's when a female Chinese reporter leans in the window. "You can't really drive," she taunts in English. "You just go around in circles."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

ESPN TOP HEADLINES

MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM