From the China Post’s Grant Clark

Yao Ming, China’s most popular athlete and a three-time NBA All-Star, said his countrymen must stop jumping queues, speak more quietly in restaurants and generally improve manners ahead of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“I suggest we work on our public courtesy,” Yao told the official Beijing 2008 magazine. “Such courtesies are no small matter. They are the sign of an internationalized host nation with a great cultural tradition.”

Beijing Olympic and government officials have started an etiquette campaign targeting habits such as queue-jumping and spitting in the buildup to the 17-day sports event starting Aug. 8, 2008. The Chinese Olympic Committee president this year said good manners should be “at the top of our agenda.”

The 7-foot-5 Yao, whose comments will be published in the next edition of Beijing 2008, urged China to move into line with international standards of behavior.

“For example, Westerners lower their voices in restaurants so as not to bother other people,” Yao said. “Jumping ahead in queues is a definite no-no. Motorists should follow traffic rules, respect pedestrians and stop to let them pass first.”

Chinese authorities last month listed mainland tourists’ bad habits in a move to encourage better manners before the Olympics, state news agency Xinhua reported. Those included “taking off socks and shoes in public” and “bad temper and cursing.”

While the comings and goings of Sebastian Telfair remain a source of fascination for the media and police alike, perhaps we might want to consider the alcohol abuse of the coaching fraternity as serious an issue as the NBA workforce exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.

In all seriousness, I think the world would be a safer place if fewer NBA players & their pals were packing heat. But I’m also certain we’d run lesser risk of being killed or maimed if Eric Musselman, Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, Bob Huggins, Keith LeGree, Kenya Hunter or future coaching legend J.J. Reddick were banned from driving.