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How dare we? How dare we go halfway around the globe to find the NEXT (20 years old) big (7'6") deal (Yao Ming)? It's one thing to crown superstars on the verge, as we have in the past (VC and Randy, Kobe and A-Rod). It's quite another to declare (Yao Da Man!) that someone unknown to the A-list fan will someday revolutionize his sport. Omega Couldn't we find an athlete closer to home, a little more prime-time? Yeah, we could, and we did-three guys we could easily have tabbed as NEXT (Michael Vick, Steve Francis and Andruw Jones), along with a gallery of stars-in-progress. We just think Yao will not only change hoops but also unite East and West. Think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And imagine an NBA Finals that 1.25 billion Chinese care about. Omega We'll spare you the fortune cookie jokes. We will, though, quote Confucius, who said: "If a man take no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand." Yao Ming may be on a far horizon, but soon you won't be able to miss him.