The former Houston Rockets star big man Yao Ming was a franchise-changing talent throughout his entire NBA career that was disappointingly cut short due to injury. He was the biggest and most successful talent to come into the league from China that been a pivotal factor in garnering international recognition across the entire globe that it has become today. Since his retirement, Ming has taken a unique path toward staying around the game that helped him global a sport icon.
Yao Ming’s NBA career
Although he spent just nine seasons in the NBA, Ming’s impact and presence on the floor was undeniable.
He was an extremely polished offensive talent while being a huge factor in the paint defensively as a legitimate rim protector that was evident in his five years with Shanghai Sharks in the Chinese Basketball Association. Ming arrived in the NBA as the complete package offensively at his size as he had the moves in the low post while possessing the ability to be an effective scorer from the mid-range.
That saw him pile up eight All-Star selections, two All-NBA Second Team nods, three All-NBA Third Team nods, an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection, and had his No. 11 jersey retired by the Rockets. He reached the playoffs five times while reaching the Western Conference Semifinals once and winning 50-plus games four times. His career may have been short, but he proved in his short time to be a Hall of Famer earning an induction as part of the 2016 class.
Ming’s career was cut short due to nagging foot and ankle injuries as a third fracture in his left foot that occurred near the tail end of 2010 proved to be the tipping point toward retirement.
Yao Ming’s life after NBA
Since stepping away from the NBA, Ming hasn’t removed himself away from the game of basketball.
Ming has made several personal investment ventures over the years that include a restaurant in Houston named ” YAO Restaurant & Bar” along with one in Shanghai and a winery located in California.
The 39-year-old helped launch the NBA Yao Basketball Club in 2014 that works in conjunction with the NBA. In February 2017, Ming took another significant step forward as the Chinese Basketball Association had a unanimous vote to appoint him as their president.
He has operated from that position over the last few years as he has helped further expand the reach of the CBA. Before taking that position, Ming had owned the Shanghai team since 2009 before selling his entire shareholder before the 2017-18 season.
Ming has a reported net worth of $120 million that largely stems from his contract earnings from the NBA along with his various endorsement deals.
Where does Yao Ming all-time in NBA history?
It has been nearly a decade since Ming stepped away from the NBA due to injury, but it has given a more precise picture to reflect on his legacy and ability on the court.
Beyond just his large stature at 7-foot-6 that made Shaquille O’Neal look normal-size, Ming was a dominant factor in his own right. It was the injuries that genuinely prevented him from putting together a long career that could have seen him accomplish much more in the league.
He had an entire skill-set that made him a challenging defensive assignment for any defender due to his all-around ability in the low post and the mid-range. Although other centers such as O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Hakeem Olajuwon all deserve much recognition, it often leaves Ming overlooked.
There is no question he belongs in the discussion as one of the greatest big men the league has seen, and his legacy will only grow as time passes along.