First Person: Dinner At Yao's Chowing down with the Rockets' Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo and Patrick Ewing
Before and after stuffing themselves in Yao's VIP room, shrimp-loving Ewing (right) and big-sipping Mutombo reclined with their host. Rick Oliver
Yao Ming's parents opened the 100-table Yao Restaurant & Bar in a west Houston strip mall late last month. When the Rockets' All-Star treated his backup Dikembe Mutombo and assistant coach and former Knicks big man Patrick Ewing to lunch, SI's Gene Menez was there.
The three enter and are led to Yao's VIP room, which is customized for tall people. (Yao's mother, Fang Feng Di, is 6'3"; his father, Yao Zhi Yuan, is 6'7".) The doorway is nine feet high, the table and chairs are supersized, and large plush recliners sit opposite a 42-inch flat-screen TV.
EWING: What kind of food do they serve here?
EWING: I know Chinese. But what kind of Chinese? Snake? 'Cuz I don't eat snake.
YAO: No snake. In China, yes, but you're not in China.
EWING: Well, I don't eat pork, duck or chicken either. Only shrimp and fish [and beef].
MUTOMBO: I eat anything.
EWING: [Browsing through the black leather-bound menu] What's the speciality here?
YAO: Uh. ... [Looks at menu and shrugs.]
Ewing, Mutombo and Yao order coconut curry prawn, General Tso's chicken, fried rice with shrimp, Mongolian beef, garlic basil prawn, Szechuan prawn and white rice.
MUTOMBO: [Sipping a virgin strawberry daiquiri] I like your restaurant, Yao. It's made for 7-footers and guys like Patrick Ewing, who is really 6'9". [Ewing has always been listed as 7 feet.]
EWING: Hey, I may be 6'9", but I'm a bad 6'9". And what about you? When I first met you, you told me you were from Zaire.
MUTOMBO: No, Congo. [Zaire was renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.]
EWING: How many languages do you speak, seven?
MUTOMBO: I speak Ebonics now, so eight. Yao, do you speak Ebonics? [Yao shrugs.] ---------------------------------------
More at the link, but, damn, Yao, Patrick and Deke need to have their own show.
That is hilarious. And that little snippet of their conversation doesnt even do it justice. If the Rockets dont make the playoffs (I havent looked at the standings lately, too depressing), these 3 could sit in for Kenny, Chuck, & Magic over on TNT anytime.
Oh, that shit's so funny! Yeah, those three crack me up. ESPN needs to do a version of "The Season" with the Rockets, but focus only on Yao, Patrick and Dikembe.
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It'll stop people going directly from high school to the pros (and we're only talking about, what, 8 kids a year max?), but those who would've gone at 18 are surely going to go in at 19 anyway. Instead of spending a year in the NBA, they'll a)