I remember when Yao Ming came into the league when I was in high school. I hadn’t fully grasped what his impact to the NBA was to be but I was ready to embrace this Chinese baller that was going to be the top pick overall. I have enjoyed his game and it’s sad that he’s retiring today.
(Ironically on this very day last year, LeBron James in his conceited ways, had “The Decision” while Yao Ming, as humble as he is, quietly walked away. Two totally different NBA stars from the same generation.)
I remember after Yao’s rookie year, I bought his jersey for $45 because I was so excited about what he could do not only for the NBA, but the image of Chinese ballers everywhere. (Now I don’t know where that jersey is. But I got another one.)
Yao was everything that you would want in an athlete. He was a hardworker (especially in learning English), he never complained, he showed emotion and he was a genuine good guy. He cared about the people around him, people back home and everybody else.
He was criticized a lot for his game at times, that he didn’t live up to the #1 pick status. But what he did was bring an international flavor to the NBA that was ready to explode. He helped make the NBA what it is today.
It sucks that every time I go see the Rockets play the Warriors, he was always hurt. This past year, the closets I ever got was to see him warm up during practices. He didn’t play in that game (doesn’t play back ends of back to back games) but it was finally nice to see him on the floor.
His injuries was too much and I didn’t expect him to return to the league. But what he did for the NBA, the game of basketball and the goodness of people all over the world, that can’t be matched.
Thanks Yao for the great memories. You’re one of a kind!