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A pioneer called ED Wang

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

—As the first player of full Chinese descent in the National Football League, Ed Wang is looking to emulate what Yao Ming did for the National Basketball Association and to broaden his game’s appeal in the nation.

The first player of full Chinese descent in the National Football League (NFL), Ed Wang, is ready to expand his pioneering role by helping to promote the game in China. The NFL claims it is the most popular sport in the United States; however it has struggled to gain a strong foothold in China and lags well behind the National Basketball Association (NBA) in terms of popularity and exposure here. The NFL hopes Wang, the son of two former Chinese Olympians, can emulate what Yao Ming did for the NBA and broaden the game’s appeal at across the country.

Ed was taught about hard work and discipline at a young age. He began his physical and strength training when he was only six. And his mother urged him on every day. The giant’s modesty is the product of a strict family upbringing which used the best aspects of Chinese and American culture. “We raised and educated him with a combination of the Chinese and US way – strict in obeying rules but free in mind,” said Ed’s father, Robert Wang, who was a high jumper and represented China at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. After living in China for more than 20 years, Robert and his wife, Nancy, immigrated to the US at the end of 1980s and there they learn how to bring up their son the “right way.” “Parents in China are used to dote on their children and shield them from any challenge. We preferred to have our kid exposed to that a little bit,” said Nancy, who was a national team hurdler.

At 15.6 foot and 315 pound, Wang can bear the burden of weighty expectations as he has already broken the barrier for Chinese-Americans in one of the world’s most physically demanding sports. Wang preferred playing basketball as a teenager, but decided to concentrate on football when a doctor predicted he would grow no taller than 16 foot, not enough to tower over others on the court. Spending his college career as a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, Wang won All-Atlantic Coast Conference second team honors in 2009, and then made a quick impression on the Bills after being drafted. Wang played six of Buffalo’s 16 games last season at left tackle – a crucial position responsible for protecting the quarterback.

“I learned a lot from our veteran players about the system and now understand the game better,” said Wang, who enjoys video games and Usher Songs as he gets mentally in tune during the season.

“My Chinese identity is important to me. It (being compared toYao) is definitely a great honor for me. I am trying my best to live up to it. Yao has done a lot for basketball and the NBA in China. To achieve what he did is a big motivation. Hopefully, I can help to expand football here. That’s what I am aiming for” Wang said.

Categories: NFL