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LEFT:  Here's Yao
next to MJ and
Bruce, as a scaled
size comparison.  
Bruce was 5'7" in
real life, Jordan
stands 6'6" and
Yao is 7'5".
LEFT:  Yao celebrates
after making his first NBA
three-pointer.
As with my custom Michael Jordan, I used Mattel's
13" NBA Super Stars body as a base.  Although
not very poseable at the elbows and knees, this
was acceptable to me as the molded over joints
look far more realistic than exposed joints.  With
Jordan, however,  the height of the figure was
perfectly in scale for someone who stands 6'6", but I needed
to modify the body considerably to bring it to the scaled
equivalent of 7'5" (Or just under15").  I ended up sectioning
the legs mid-thigh, and sectioning the torso below the ribs.  
At each cut, I added approximately 3/4" of length.  And finally,
when sculpting the head, I added an additional 3/16" of
length to the neck.
ABOVE & BELOW:  Yao
Ming demonstrates
ample justification for
the obvious moniker of
"The Great Wall of
China".  Personally, I
prefer "The Ming
Dynasty" as far as
nicknames go, although
I suppose it's much too
early to put the Rockets
and "dynasty" in the
same sentence.
LEFT:  Not a lot of people on
this planet can make Shaq look
small...

BELOW:  Yao next to the
smallest guy in the league.  As if
he didn't look big enough
already!
YAO MING, HOUSTON ROCKETS #11  --   2002 - PRESENT

7'5", 300 lbs.  His dad is 6'10", played for the Chinese Men's National
Team, and his mom's 6'4" and played with the Chinese Women's
National Team.  That explains not just his height but his basketball IQ.  
Sure, the Rockets missed the playoffs by a couple of games in this, his
rookie season.  But if he was a product of the American system, he'd still
be in college.  Give him a few more years to work on his footwork, his
dunks,  his upper-body strength and his post-up moves, and Yao Ming
will be unstoppable...
Yao Ming played with the Shanghai Sharks and averaged 38.9
points through the 2001-2002 Chinese Basketball League playoffs,
leading his team to the championship.

When I first heard they were going to try to draft him into the NBA, I
was excited.  And after Houston drafted him #1 overall, I couldn't
wait for the season to begin..
His first few weeks in the NBA were as I
expected, Yao adjusting to the NBA's more
aggressive style of play, getting knocked
down, and getting stripped of the ball here
and there.

But just a few more weeks into it, and the
adjustments started coming.  In November
he scored  20 points against the Lakers,
and a few  days later, 30 points against the
Dallas Mavericks.

Both teams have made adjustments to
contain him, but this shows that it wasn't so
much that Yao wasn't ready for the NBA
but that the NBA wasn't quite ready for him!

By the end of the season, though, I'd say
most coaches in the NBA have figured out
how to keep his points to under 20 and his
rebounds to under 15.  And it still seems
some adjustments need to be made in the
Rockets offense to feed him the ball a bit
more frequently, especially when he's
posted up propery near the rim.

But enough sports-talk...onto the figure
itself!
The shoes from the Mattel sets were terrible in that
they were not left-right differentiated.

The shoes I used for my Yao Ming custom were the
ones sold separately, made in Hong Kong.
They're packaged so you don't know which pair you
get (to stimulate collectors I guess), but  I got my pair
from my buddies at Echobase Toys in Temple City, CA
who opened them all and sold them so you could see
what you were getting.
Also quite fortunately, another
of the four in that series was
a Tim Duncan of the San
Antonio Spurs.  This figure
was unique in that it was
molded in a significantly
lighter skin tone than
the other three.

For my head, then,
I mixed up a batch
of fleshtone that
more closely
matched this
body instead
of using the
skin-tone that
I normally prefer using.  Luckily
the tone could pass for that of
an Asian's!
Quite fortunately, one of the four
figures released in that short-lived
series by Mattel, was a Scottie
Pippen when he was on the Houston
Rockets (post Bulls, and pre
Trailblazers).  It was not too difficult
removing his number 33 and
"Pippen" from the jersey with the
proper solvent and replacing it with
my color inkjet logos on iron-on
transfers which I designed on
Photoshop.