When Yao Ming went unnoticed

Not many among the sparse Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium crowd were aware that the eight-time NBA all-star and Houston Rockets legend - Ming - was in attendance for China's match in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup.

Earlier this year, Ming was appointed president of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).   -  K Murali Kumar

A short while before China’s FIBA Women’s Asia Cup quarterfinal match began here on Thursday, a 7'6" man quietly slipped into the arena. He took a seat in the VIP area beside the court, and watched the action unfold with minimum fuss.

Not many among the sparse Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium crowd were aware that they were in the presence of an all-time great. The man in question was Yao Ming, eight-time NBA all-star and Houston Rockets legend.

Earlier this year, Ming was appointed president of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He is in the city to watch his national team's progress in the event. The 36-year-old keenly followed every minute of China's lop-sided 117-43 victory over Philippines. He even stayed on for the Japan-Chinese Taipei fixture that followed.

No formal announcement was made in the build-up to Yao's visit. A national-level hoopster, who was practising on the stadium's outdoor courts, was taken by surprise when he was informed that Ming was nearby. “I had no idea that he was here. It would have been nice if the public had been informed about this. A lot of people would have come to see him and meet him,” the player said.

It is not immediately clear if Ming requested officials to keep his tour low-key, as the superstar could not be reached for comment.

All hope is not lost yet though, as Ming is expected to stay in the city until the end of the tournament.

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