Friday, July 8, 2011

Yao Ming Retires From NBA

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will be retiring from the NBA after nine seasons playing for the Houston Rockets.

The 7'6" center had been injury-riddled for several years, with repetitive fractures to his left foot and ankle.  He missed the entire 2009-2010 season after surgery to repair a broken left foot.  When he returned for the 2010-2011 season, the Rockets crafted a playing plan that limited Yao to no more than 24 minutes a game, and that prohibited him from having to play a game two nights in a row to try and save his foot.

That failed to prevent a stress fracture from developing early in that season (which the Rockets believed was linked to an earlier injury), and Yao was once again sidelined from basketball for the remainder of the season.

Despite not playing most of the season,  Yao was named to be the starting center for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game (as he has eight of the nine seasons he played in the NBA).  Immensely popular with his native Chinese fans, Yao became one of the most popular players in the NBA during his career due to his size and personality.

In his career, Yao averaged 19 pts, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game.

Perhaps Yao could still play for his native China in the 2012 Olympics and beyond.  The relatively short Olympic season and a lengthy recovery period where he doesn't have to worry about playing in the NBA should tempt him to play.


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