Aug 13, 2012, 4:12 PM EST
I’m willing to bet that this is the only photo of Yao Ming with armed rhinoceros protector militia that you’ll see today. Likewise the photo following the jump, showing him in close proximity with a lion in the wild. Also: warthogs! Which one hardly ever sees in Houston.
The 7-foot-6 Yao, who retired from basketball due to foot and ankle injuries following a nine-year NBA career with the Rockets, is in Africa this week on a conservation mission for WildAid, for which he has been a global ambassador for the past several years. Yao is learning about the dangers facing endangered elephants and rhinoceroses, which are being hunted in Africa to feed the demand in Asian nations for medicines derived from ivory and rhino horn. Yao’s simple message to his countrymen: Hey, stop it.
On Tuesday Yao was spotted at the British Natural History Museum in London, noted the Los Angeles Times, which treated the sighting as if they’d just seen a rare giant fossil. But actually it was the first leg of his trip for WildAid. Yao, from his web site:
“We saw the skeletons and exhibits of many animals that are now extinct. I learned that, in the grand scheme of things, extinction can be a natural process, a part of animals and plants adapting and changing – all part of evolution. But every so often there is a mass extinction event like the asteroid strike, which scientists believe wiped out the dinosaurs.
“Many scientists believe we are now in the middle of the sixth great mass extinction, but for the first time, it’s being caused by an animal – human beings.
“Both elephants and rhinos are being hunted at record levels for their ivory and horns. I was really shocked to learn that even dead rhinos aren’t safe. Across Europe, organized criminals have been stealing rhino horns from museums to supply the Asian market for rhino horns. Now, museums are replacing the horns on exhibit with fake ones. Sam told me, ironically, many of these museum horns may have been treated with preservatives so anyone trying to use these stolen horns may actually be poisoning themselves.”
In Africa, Yao went on a rhino patrol at the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya.
“Rhino patrolling is no joke — it involves walking for hours on end, several times a day, until every last rhino is spotted at least once every three days. The rhino patrollers know each and every rhino by name and sight, and if they can’t find one during their daily patrol, then they use a plane to patrol the entire conservancy until all rhinos are accounted for!”
I’d love to see the look on the faces of the poachers when they see a 7-foot-6 Chinese guy coming at them with armed backup.
Photos courtesy WildAid.org.
Mar 31, 2013, 10:37 AM EST
Since this will be the final post in the history of Off The Bench, I feel that this post can’t just be a simple post about an NFL player buying segways for his teammates or an improbable buzzer beater from a high school basketball game. I’d like to echo the sentiments that Rick featured in…
Mar 31, 2013, 7:13 AM EST
As Opening Day of Major League Baseball is just around the corner, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels will be getting the starting nod against the Atlanta Braves. If you have been following the Phillies during spring training, you might have noticed that Hamels has been growing a rather impressive mustache. Below are just some photos…
Mar 30, 2013, 12:16 PM EST
Back in 2012, Vanderbilt University’s baseball team pulled off a successful triple steal in a game against Florida in the SEC Tournament. Earlier this week, Vanderbilt pulled off that rare feat again in a non-conference game against Lipscomb University. With runners on first and second, Commodore manager Tim Corbin called for the steal and before…
Mar 30, 2013, 9:04 AM EST
Back on Tuesday, the United States men’s soccer team traveled to Azteca Stadium to face Mexico in a World Cup Qualifying match. After the match ended in a draw, a group of happy United States fans celebrated the 0-0 score in the upper deck of the Azteca. As chants of USA got louder and louder,…
Mar 28, 2013, 8:00 AM EST
In case you haven’t heard, Easter Sunday is the final day of Off the Bench: this blog will cease operations as of 11:59 p.m. on that date. So the day after March 31, there will be no new posts on this blog. The timing is fine: I see no reason people would wake the next…
Mar 27, 2013, 3:19 PM EST
So the Miami Heat have won 27 straight, and have an excellent chance of breaking the NBA record for consecutive wins, 33, set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Here’s a pretty good breakdown comparing the two teams. But if you’re like me, it’s not enough to know that Thor and Hercules were both very…
Mar 26, 2013, 2:35 PM EST
Life as a lesser Belushi can be frustrating at times, I’d imagine: even though you occasionally get to be in films like Trading Places and be married to Courtney Thorne-Smith. Also you get to participate in Shoot-the-Puck contests at Chicago Blackhawks games. Jim Belushi was born in Chicago, so I sure hope he makes this…
Mar 25, 2013, 5:39 PM EST
If you’re a fan of vintage tennis posters — or, you know, hot chicks — the you may be familiar with ‘Tennis Girl’. That’s the photo of 18-year-old Fiona Butler showing her mostly bare backside, shot by her boyfriend, Martin Elliott, and made into an iconic, best-selling poster in the 1970s. Lauren Davis of the…
Mar 25, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
But that’s not even the most incredible part of this story. Iram Leon, 32, won the 2013 Gusher Marathon in Beaumont, Texas on Saturday despite the fact that he has terminal brain cancer. He ran the entire race while pushing his 6-year-old daughter Kiana in a stroller, winning with a time of in 3:07:36. That’s…
Mar 24, 2013, 3:38 PM EST
Honestly, I didn’t think that a statue of a horned frog would scare me but the latest edition to the TCU football stadium might cause me to look under my bed for the next couple of days. On Saturday, TCU unveiled the newest edition to Amon G. Carter Stadium as a bronzed horned frog will…
Mar 24, 2013, 10:55 AM EST
There might not be a individual in sports known for his wacky fashion sense than Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager. Over the years, Craig has provided the world and a bunch of NBA players cannon-fodder for his strange color combinations and for those of you who think that Craig just wears those zany outfits…
Mar 24, 2013, 8:33 AM EST
At almost every college/professional basketball game these days, one lucky fan is brought out onto the court to win some sort of cash or prize by making a number of shots or a half-court shot. For most, the pressure is pretty high but for one Serbian basketball fan attending an Adriatic League basketball game between KK Igokea…
Mar 23, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
After playing together for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, it appears that Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips became fast friends with Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino. Back on Friday night, Phillips took to his Twitter account to show off a pair of size 6.5 Louboutin sneakers that he bought for…
Mar 23, 2013, 10:55 AM EST
Over the last couple of years, it appears that college athletic programs have been trying to one up each other in trying to create the most creative-looking football field or basketball courts. Back on Wednesday, Florida International men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino revealed the latest possible crazy basketball court design on his Twitter account. The…
Mar 23, 2013, 10:09 AM EST
Over in Atwood, IL, all systems are go for a fundraiser in which an AR-15 rifle — the same type used in two recent school massacres — will be raffled off to benefit the local youth baseball league. According to the people involved this is all perfectly kosher, and one lucky fan will be heavily…
Mar 23, 2013, 8:35 AM EST
While it’s normal for soccer goalies to come up on corner kicks to create an extra attacker, it isn’t normal for them to take motorcycle rides back to their own goal. Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot of information about the below video except for the fact that it occurs during a soccer match on…
Mar 22, 2013, 6:46 PM EST
Bigger gathering of villainy: the cantina in Mos Eisly spaceport, or Harvard University? The basketball team may be riding high right now, but things are not going so swell back on campus. This past August Harvard officials announced that 125 students were under investigation for allegedly cheating on a take-home test. And now, Harvard has…
Mar 22, 2013, 4:22 PM EST
Don’t those dual hair parts kind of resemble devil horns? Isn’t his trash-talking style kind of evil? Is his shot selection from the pit of hell? Yes, yes and yes. Every good story needs an antagonist, and the NCAA Basketball Tournament has theirs in Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson. What we have here is not exactly…
Mar 21, 2013, 4:12 PM EST
Anybody wondering what Andre the Giant would have been like as a college basketball player, look no further than Sim Bhullar — New Mexico State’s 7-foot-5, 360-pound freshman from Toronto. Bhullar, the tallest player in college basketball, has 85 blocked shots and led the WAC in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent. Hey, it’s not…
Mar 20, 2013, 3:45 PM EST
This video proves once again that great champions are made to order, not born. The Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League, a Double-A affiliate of the Dallas Stars, had their Fourth Annual McDonald’s Night at Allen Event Center in Allen, TX, recently. This of course called for McDonald’s-themed uniforms (later auctioned for charity), but…
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found