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Yao? Yow! 

Basketball's big guy

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TUES 4/5

Anyone out there who doesn't know who Yao Ming is? If you live in a sports-free cave, you may not, but something tells us that even athletophobes will be delighted to hear that a Chinese giant plays in the NBA. And "giant" is no exaggeration: Ming stands 7 feet 5 inches tall. He's also handsome, self-effacing, and funny; it's hard not to like him.

The diplomacy required to allow a Chinese citizen to play professional basketball in the United States makes Ming's presence here something of a historical event. Even so, his points-per-game average went from 13.5 in his rookie year to 17.5 this season: That's called wiping the hardwood with most of the other players. Yao's Houston Rockets take on the Golden State Warriors at 7:30 p.m. at the Arena in Oakland, 7000 Coliseum (at Hegenberger), Oakland. Admission is $10-660; visit www.nba.com/warriors.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Just Deserts

WED 3/30

Dry-area hiking expert Steve Tabor shows how to make like a camel and survive the heat at "Great Day Hikes in California's Desert Parks & Beyond." His slide presentation begins at 7 p.m. at REI, 840 Brannan (at Langton), S.F. Admission is free; call 934-1938 or visit www.rei.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

Get An Early Art

SAT 4/2

Kids doing art in the park: We love this. ArtSpan's "Kaleidoscope" project involves professional artists teaching children neat stuff; today, it's Jeannie Pettigrew and collographs. Family Day in the Park starts at 1 at Ocean View Park, 650 Capitol (at Montana), S.F. Admission is free; call 861-9838 or visit www.artspan.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser

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