Series Of Injury Cut Short Yao Ming’s Basketball Career
20. July 2011
After a colorful nine-year career in the National Basketball Association, Chinese superstar center Yao Ming has decided to retire from the sport that made him a global icon.
Yao made official his retirement from basketball in a press-conference at his hometown in Shanghai, China on Wednesday saying the series of injuries he suffered the past years made him decide to quit basketball. Based on NBA data, Yao missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years due to his injury.
The Chinese basketball superstar said he is sad with his retirement but had to do it for the sake of his family. “Today is an important day for me and holds a special meaning for both my basketball career and my future,” Yao said.
Although, Yao officially retired from playing basketball, the 7-foot-6 (2.29-meter) center said he will not totally abandon basketball as he intend of becoming general manager of his former Chinese basketball team Shanghai Sharks.The NBA superstar said he also intend to continue his philanthropic work with his Yao Foundation.
The NBA world which is currently on a lockout is saddened by the decision of Yao to retire since he had been one of the superstars of the premier basketball league in the planet the past few years. “Yao Ming has been a transformational player and a testament to the globalization of our game,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement.
“His dominant play and endearing demeanor along with his extensive humanitarian efforts have made him an international fan favorite and provided an extraordinary bridge between basketball fans in the United States and China,” Stern added on the same statement. The decision of Yao to retire is also seen as a huge blow to the Chinese national basketball team.
Now that Yao has retired, the Chinese basketball team is in desperate need of someone who can carry the team to its glory years in basketball when they used to dominate Asia and compete big-time against the rest of the world. With the retirement of Yao, NBA star Yi Jianlian is expected to carry the torch for Chinese basketball in the years to come if injury will not derail his career.
Before his retirement, Yao last played for the Houston Rockets.As of the 2010–11 NBA season, he was the tallest player in the NBA, at 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in). Yao, who was born in Shanghai, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), winning a championship in his final year.
After negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, Yao was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.Yao was selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game eight times, and was named to the All-NBA Team five times. He reached the NBA Playoffs four times, and the Rockets won a first-round series in the 2009 postseason, their first playoff series victory since 1997.
He is one of China’s best-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies. His rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary film, The Year of the Yao, and he co-wrote, along with NBA analyst Ric Bucher, an autobiography titled Yao: A Life in Two Worlds.