Folks, if you haven't already done so, it's time you subscribe to Fox Sports Net Southwest. Only there will you find your beloved Houston Rockets, who will be making ZERO appearances on national television this season.
Apparently, without Yao Ming, the Rockets are less appealing to Asian viewers than the Clippers. And that's no joke - the Clips have eight nationally televised games this year. Eight!
Feel the breeze. It's what happens when you're hung out to dry.
There's a scene in Remember the Titans, when Bill Yoast approaches head coach Herman Boone a night after successfully converting Petey Jones into a game-changing linebacker, only after Boone had benched Jones. He walks into Boone's office expecting a smile, accompanied by a hearty, "Nice move, Coach!" and a handshake. Instead, this happens:
Boone: All right, listen, about Petey...
Yoast: No thanks required, coach.
Boone: Thanks? You challenged my authority in front of the entire football team, coach.
Pow! Right to the gut.
Picture yourself as Coach Yoast. You made a fantastic move. You did your job, and then some. And by rising to the ocassion, you not only made Boone look better by getting a victory, but you practically saved his ass from being fired in the event he had lost that game.
And for your reward, you get a reprimand.
The Rockets' situation is no different. They saved the playoffs last season. They made them interesting. They turned a sure-fire sweep into a seven game barnburner, complete with technicals, personal vendettas, and absolutely stunning upsets.
What's the Rockets' reward from the NBA? How many television appearances do they get in order to further popularize themselves to new fans, or to propel jersey sales, or to increase general awareness of their product? What does the NBA say to them?
"You get nothing. Go away."
If the NBA thinks that Yao Ming's absence guarantees indifference to the Rockets from millions of Asian viewers, they are sorely mistaken. Sorely, sorely mistaken.
Maybe they'll find a new hero in, say, Al Thornton. Right.