Teammates of retired Rockets star Yao Ming had a pretty good situation going on, and not just because it was nice to play with an excellent center. Because of Yao's all-encompassing celebrity in his native China, his teammates found it relatively easy to get endorsement opportunities. How else did Chuck Hayes get his own sneaker commercial?
Tracy McGrady was a legitimate superstar during his time with the Rockets, but there's no question that playing with Yao brought him an added level of fame in the world's biggest emerging market. As a case in point, check out this ad for Chinese beer Xuejin, in which McGrady tries to jump to grab a ball lodged between the rim and the backboard on a playground hoop. Then, for some reason, when he does grab it, the local Chinese ballers raise the height of the basket to about 40 feet. Apparently the rules of the court are different over there.
Whatever the case, the premise of the ad is less important than one particular moment: at first, McGrady literally cannot reach the basketball. I'm not sure if the point is that the beer is so heavy that it weighs him down — that would be a weird thing to say about beer — but the takeaway here is that McGrady remains a coveted endorser in China even when he's at his athletic nadir. Even in retirement, the Yao effect continues on.
- Yao Ming
- Tracy McGrady