Jeff Van Gundy Rumors
Jeff Van Gundy: Yao used to play this recurring joke on me. He had one bad ear, the result of hearing loss he had suffered as a kid, and I could never quite keep track of which ear it was. The thing was, Yao knew that I was confused about it. So whenever I made the team run a drill for pick-and-roll defense in practice — which required Yao to get in a low defensive stance (not his favorite thing to do) — Yao would point to one ear and and wave his hand, as if to say, I can’t hear you, Coach … this is my bad ear. I would maneuver my way around to his other ear, and continue to harp on his defensive stance. “Get lower! Get in a stance!” Inevitably, Yao would smile and say, “No, no, Coach. THIS is my bad ear.”
Jeff Van Gundy: I loved the way Tracy McGrady and Yao treated each other as teammates. One thing they showed everyone was that basketball shouldn’t be a selfish endeavor. Yao and Tracy were kindred spirits in this way. They never fought over the silly notion of whose team it was. Instead, they understood what everyone should remember from kindergarten: to share — the credit, the blame and the responsibility. Much like Tim Duncan and Steve Nash, Yao was a unifying leader. I believe that if a great player is also a compassionate, caring, unselfish teammate, then his team’s chemistry is going to be exceptional. That’s what Yao did every day, in every way.