Maybe it was the traditional Guangdong soup that pulled Yi Jianlian out if his shooting slump yesterday against the Los Angeles Lakers. For the first time in his short career, Yi's parents - mother Mai Meiling and father Yi Jingliu - were with him in Milwaukee, making the trek from Shenzhen in time to spend Thanksgiving with their son.
Yesterday at the Bradley Center was their first experience at an NBA game, as the Bucks' treated their distinguished guests to a victory, the team's fourth in a row, as it happens.
Yi has said in the past that "everything is different" when his mother is around. Every day, Yi says, his mother serves her young superstar a steaming bowl of Guangdong's traditional soup, which can take many hours of careful preparation. Yi has said the soup gives him "great power" whenever he eats it. Of course, we can't know for sure if Mai Meiling, in fact, prepared the soothing soup for Yi before yesterday's game, but it sounds like the perfect remedy for a harsh Milwaukee winter, no doubt getting colder by the day.
Yi's parents did not see their son's best performance of the year, but they did see his shooting touch return as he hit four-of-six shots from the field, a strong improvement over the dismal 23 percent he shot over the previous three games.
They also saw a slight bump in his minutes compared to what he has been seeing recently. Yi had been averaging close to 30 minutes per game before slipping into his mini-slump, but has seen his time on the court cut nearly in half the past few games. This decrease in playing time probably has less to do with Yi's performance and more to do with the re-emergence of fellow power forward Charlie Villanueva.
Based on comments Yi has made in the past, he is probably happy to help his team win however he can. His folks may wish to see him on the court more while they are visiting, but for the parents who were worried their son could never make it as an athlete, his success is a welcome sight. They just need to keep feeding him that Guangdong soup.
Source: China Daily