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NBA Star Tracy McGrady Criticized for Eating Shark Fin Soup While in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong -- US basketball player Tracy McGrady was criticized by wildlife campaigners Tuesday for eating shark's fin soup during a visit to Hong Kong.

The 26-year-old NBA star, known as T-MAC, reportedly said he had been impressed by the soup - a controversial dish blamed for putting some species of sharks at risk of extinction.

"This is the first time I've had shark's fin soup in my life," he was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post newspaper during his visit, which ended Friday.

The head of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Hong Kong told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa Tuesday that the player's comments were a bad example to young basketball fans.

McGrady's remarks came just weeks after his Chinese teammate from the Houston Rockets, Yao Ming, fronted a campaign urging his countrymen to stop eating shark's fin soup.

McGrady was paying his third official visit in Hong Kong for sportswear giant Adidas, with whom he holds a life-time promotional contract.

The company's collection of sportswear includes a T-MAC basketball shoe, which has been one of the best-selling shoes in the US.

A press release issued by Adidas ahead of the tour, which also took him to Korea, China and the Philippines, said that McGrady's visit was aimed at boosting the growth of basketball in Asia and to give his young fans a chance to interact with the star.

Hong Kong WWF chief executive Eric Bohm told dpa that McGrady's remarks demonstrated how the message about shark's fin was still not getting across.

"I think it is an ill-conceived remark made in complete ignorance. It was immature," he said.

"I am of the old school who happen to think that athletes have to be above the rest of us when they are considered heroes. He should think before he speaks. It's a reflection that our message about shark's fin is not getting across. The slaughter of sharks is still going on unabated."

Yao and other Chinese celebrities joined a campaign, launched last month by San Franciso-based WildAid, appearing in commercials urging Chinese people not to buy ivory and other products from endangered species.

Bohm said that Yao Ming's stand against shark's fin soup "from a cultural point of view that carries more credence to our campaign in China than Mr McGrady's comments."

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 100 million sharks are caught annually, but some experts believe the true figure could be up to 200 million sharks.

Many sharks are caught solely for their fins and are dumped back into the sea to bleed to death once their fins have been hacked off for the soup, which is considered a delicacy for Chinese weddings and banquets.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of UnderwaterTimes.com, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

5 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Tracy McGrady has a right to eat Shark Fin Soup! There are more sharks in the world than there are humans. The head of the World Wide Fund for Nature is off his rocker. He should be protecting seals, etc that get eaten by the sharks. We could never fish sharks to extinction. That is a lot of political fiction. We ought to have shark contol programs around the world's beaches to fish more of them out of the sea!
   comment# 1   - Monte Petersen · Greenwich, CT USA · Apr 12, 2007 @ 10:23am

OK! There have been more human babies snatched from wombs than there are sharks snatched from the sea. An by the way, the sharks come up and snatch human limbs, it is time for payback and a little soup to boot.
   comment# 2   - Edward · Milton (USA) · May 7, 2007 @ 10:45am

They just can't get him in trouble. What about the person who sold it to him or made it. They should be the one in blame. Its not like he forced them to catch one and make shark soup for him.
   comment# 3   - Doua Thao · Oroville, CA · Apr 8, 2008 @ 10:57am

We have decimated 95% of the shark population since the 1970's. Along with most of the larger predator fish in the sea. We will continue to destroy these fish until we've eaten them all. And then what will we eat? As a human population we have a responsibility to restore some kind of balance to this planet we are eating and polluting....We have to stop and think instead of being fixated on ourselves alone.
   comment# 4   - Kate Parker · Auckland, New Zealand · Nov 11, 2011 @ 8:18pm

The problem is a debt based global economy when debt is money waste is money, it supports overpopulation and debt slavery. The world goverments subsidize fishing to the point where twice as much is spent on fishing than profits. We would all have more wealth, health, prosperity and resources to share if we had 1-2 billion self sufficient resourceful people than 7 billion for the sake of making interest payments on loans. Sickening God will destroy those who destroy the earth, we are supposed to be good stewards not selfish reckless breeders.
   comment# 5   - Greg Collins · Barrington, U.S.A · Nov 23, 2011 @ 1:35pm
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