TV Host Lisa Ling on New Ultimate Explorer, Yao Ming

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Yao is one of a kind, but do you foresee be other Chinese players breaking into the NBA?

There will never be another Yao, but everyone is on the lookout for the next superstar player from China. When I was in China there was a scout there from the NBA. Even though they are not supposed to be there, people are combing the country.

Every time I go back, it's just unbelievable how much it changes. Economies around the world are struggling and multinational companies continue to pour money in there because it's a population of over a billion consumers. And a lot of them aren't even profitable right now—they just want to be there.

When Yao plays basketball, 300 million people watch him. That's more than the population of the United States and only a fraction of the population of China. You can imagine what that means in terms of marketing dollars. In times when marketing dollars are tight, Yao has money thrown at him.

This story has a personal aspect for you because your family left China when the Communists took over. Now Yao is a symbol of a changing China and perhaps even of a closing gap between your traditional home and your new one.

It's been such an incredible learning experience. Growing up as an Asian American, I was conflicted. I never felt entirely American nor entirely Chinese. It's pretty extraordinary to have a guy who both sides cheer for so fervently. He' s helping to change the perception of not only China but of Asian Americans in this country, and I think that's pretty extraordinary.

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