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Report: Yao Ming to retire

Jul 8, 2011, 2:09 PM EDT

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Yao Ming, a player who was both one of the better all-around centers to ever play the game and a true ambassador of the sport — but leaves us all wondering what could have been — plans to announce his retirement.

Yao, who had played just five games the past season due to injuries, has realized he can’t recover enough to play again, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Yao, who missed all but five games of the 2010-11 season, hasn’t been able to fully recover from a tendon strain in his left leg. The veteran center informed the Rockets, the league office in New York, and NBA China of his decision to leave the game within the past 48 hours, sources said.

From a stretch of 2004 to 2007 he was the best center on the planet (if you are thinking of arguing Dwight Howard’s case, go check their head-to-head numbers).  In the 2006-07 season he was the focus of the Houston Rockets offense (when on the floor 33 percent of the Rockets played ended with a Yao shot, foul or turnover), scoring 25 points a game and grabbing 9.4 boards. He had great moves around the basket, amazing footwork, but at 7’6” he also 48 percent of his shots from 10-15 feet out, and 44 percent from 16 feet out to the arc that season — you had to respect the jumper. He was also a gifted passer as a big man. He was a complete player.

He was an eight-time All-Star (in part due to a huge online vote from China, one which make him an All-Star last season even when injured and out for the season).

Then a series of injuries did in his career.

He will be remembered as one of the first true global ambassadors of the sport, brining the NBA to China. There could not have been a better person for the job, a thoughtful and kind giant that was loved and respected around the globe.

He will be missed.

  1. edmazeing1 - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    How much money has Yao made from the NBA????

    • steelyres211 - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      Probably a lot less than he made the NBA.

      • goforthanddie - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        A Hell of a lot less.

      • edmazeing1 - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        I thought he made the NBA big in china, which means more money for the NBA!!!

    • theghostofwillisreed - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:03 PM

      what’s your point?

    • florida727 - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      From 2002-03 through 2010-11, cumulative $93,390,336. If you do a Google search on “Yao Ming salary”, one of the responses is a site called “”. You can get ANY player’s career earning near the bottom of the page. Hope that helps…

  2. goforthanddie - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Sad, I like Yao.

  3. redbear18 - Jul 8, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Poor guy. He could’ve been so much better, but his body just didn’t cooperate.

    • angeson - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      $93 mil aint poor

  4. jkmanning18 - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    With his size and skill, Yao could have have been one of the best centers ever. But his size was also what ended his career. His legs just could not sustain the constant strain put on by his 7’6 body. On a side note though, I prefer seeing star like Yao have a short, brilliant career compared to underachievers with long careers (Chris Weber).

  5. cosanostra71 - Jul 8, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    it’s unfortunate. A lot of these big guys just don’t last that long- humans aren’t really meant to be that big! It honestly makes what Shaq did that much more impressive- he’s one of the few players that size to have an extended career.

    I always like Yao. He was an entertaining player on the court and had a likable personality. I hope he continues to enjoy success in whatever his next venture may be.

    • therookie773 - Jul 8, 2011 at 5:42 PM

      Ping pong?

  6. wanghunglo - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    This is unfortunate. I knew the injuries would start coming back but I waited for 1 healthy dominant season after he was one of the front runners for MVP voting mid way thru the season years back. His numbers then were great!
    I remember getting back into watching basketball when he was drafted, ordered the NBA League Pass just to watch all of the Rockets Games during his rookie season. Being from Orlando I did notice his domination over Dwight Howard each head to head match up they had. Even had the pleasure of watching one of the games between the two in person.

  7. sordidconnotation - Jul 8, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    At least show Ming the respect of proofreading the article before you post it.

    • weensy3000 - Jul 8, 2011 at 6:15 PM

      No kidding. This article looks like it was written by a fourth grader. I know journalistic standards have slipped, but this is unbelievable.

  8. zrbk - Jul 9, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    In 2003, I thought Yao was going to succeed Shaq as the most dominating player in the league. It’s sad that they’re actually retiring in the same year. It is true that Yao would never have been a monster like Shaq or Dwight Howard; he was meant to be a versatile player on court. His passing and free throw shooting abilities were simply amazing. When he first joined the Rockets, his offensive techniques reminded me of Hakeem. Most of all, it’s a pity the Yao-Mac duo did not work out in the end. Hope Yao can make it to the HOF. As a huge contributor to the game of basketball, he deserves to be memorized.

  9. gokendrys - Jul 9, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    Yao’s injuries had more to do with playing year round, if he wasn’t playing here for the Rockets, he was playing for the Chinese national team either in regional tournaments or preparing for the Olympics, his body never got any rest until he started getting injured. He was my favorite player and I wish he was still able to keep playing.

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