NEXT 2001 -- Yao Ming

Updated: December 7, 2006, 12:22 PM ET

Who is this guy, anyway?

You rub your eyes after 17 hours of flying across 12 time zones and pluck your suitcase off the baggage carousel. The expansive airport architecture suggests that you're well into the 21st century. You blink. This is not the China of your imagination.

You're in Shanghai, and you do know some things about the man you're going to meet. You know that Yao Ming is roughly 7'6" and 20 years old, and that he is potentially the world's next athlete of impact. ...

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