Yao Ming During the NBA Finals this year, the Los Angeles Lakers thrilled the world by going down in selfish, egotistical flames. They devoted more energy to pointing fingers at each other than to putting the ball in the basket, and one of the most egregious offenders was Shaquille O'Neal, a whining, overweight superstar who thinks he's better than the game itself. Here in Houston, we have the Anti-Shaq. Seven-foot-five center Yao Ming is eager to pass the ball, says all the right things (through an interpreter, of course; for all we know he might actually be saying, "Gimme the damn ball!") and wants nothing more than to win. Being the Anti-Shaq has its drawbacks, of course -- Yao could gain a little more upper-body strength and we wouldn't complain. But in a city that knows how to treat large foreigners playing center for the Rockets, Yao has become a defining symbol for our favorite basketball team. Even if that means they need to be a little more aggressive once in a while.

Rice University The obvious choice would be Memorial Park, but there's something alternately peaceful and invigorating about doing a lap around Rice University. For starters, you've got that lovely canopy of trees providing shade along the dirt path. And peeking out through the foliage, you'll occasionally catch sight of downtown or the baby skyline at the Med Center, with its rad twin-syringe buildings. The area is especially pretty gleaming in the violet-orange sunset. With convenient parking, a smattering of collegiate lookers (some sweating off the Freshman 15), and about three miles of virtually stoplight-free thoroughfare, Rice is the place to shake off a day in the rat race.

Rice University The obvious choice would be Memorial Park, but there's something alternately peaceful and invigorating about doing a lap around Rice University. For starters, you've got that lovely canopy of trees providing shade along the dirt path. And peeking out through the foliage, you'll occasionally catch sight of downtown or the baby skyline at the Med Center, with its rad twin-syringe buildings. The area is especially pretty gleaming in the violet-orange sunset. With convenient parking, a smattering of collegiate lookers (some sweating off the Freshman 15), and about three miles of virtually stoplight-free thoroughfare, Rice is the place to shake off a day in the rat race.

Best Of Houston®

Best Of