SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: Shaq’s Chinese Is Improving

July 22nd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

You may recall how, in 2003, before Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming’s first meeting on the NBA hardwood, Shaq attempted to reach across cultural lines and communicate with the then-rookie from China, saying on a FOX Sports show: “Tell Yao Ming, ‘ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.’”

To which Yao responded, “Chinese is hard to learn. I had trouble with it when I was little.”


But that was then, and this is nao, and when Shaq took a trip to the People’s Republic this month, he showed just how far he’s come in speaking China’s native tongue and understanding its culture.

First, he got lap-danced by a panda. Then, he visited a Shaolin temple, where he Tweeted:

Ive been alotta place but being at the shaolin temple n china has brouhht a tear to my eye buddha blessed

The Shaqlin Temple

After that, he vowed to bring this mysterious, mystical martial art known as kung fu back to his motherland.

This may still sound like ching-chong to you, but there’s no denying Shaq’s conversational tone has improved. And Mandarin, as everyone knows, is all about tone. So Shaq must be one cunning linguist. (That, or he has some sneakers to shill.)

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