Yao decides to retire

8 Jul


By RJP Staff

Yao Ming has finally reached the inevitable. He has decided to retire. This news comes as some of a surprise but could have been predicted with his ongoing string of injuries year after year. His most recent injury, a stress fracture in his left leg left him out of the 2010-2011. Yao has been plagued by injuries ever since 2006 and hasn’t bounced back fully since.

Yao was drafted in 2002 in the first round with the first pick by the Houston Rockets. He finished his rookie season averaging 13.5 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game, and was second in the NBA Rookie of the Year Award voting to Amar’e Stoudemire, and a unanimous pick for the NBA All-Rookie First Team selection. Yao’s first season made many doubters believers but he had more to prove than just having a good rookie season. He had to do it constantly and take his team to a higher level.

Yao improved each year and talks of him being an elite center in the league became more of a reality. After only missing 246 in his first three years of NBA play, Yao endured an extended period on the inactive list in his fourth season after developing osteomyelitis in the big toe on his left foot. Early into his fifth season, Yao was injured again, this time breaking his right knee on December 23, 2006, while attempting to block a shot. averaging 26.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, and had been mentioned as an NBA MVP candidate.

In 2007, Yao played one of his best seasons since 2004. His first full season since then, averaging 19.7 points and 9.9 rebounds, while shooting 54.8% from the field, and a career-high 86.6% from the free throw line. The Rockets were winning and Yao was considered the best center in the league this year. In 2009 Yao underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot and that had him out of the entire 2009-10 thus being the story of his career and the last time Yao would play in an NBA game.

After nine NBA seasons, the 7'6 Yao is walking away from the game after an injury plagued end to his career. Should Yao go into the Hall of Fame as a contributor?

The Shanghai native averaged 19.0 points and 9.3 rebounds in 486 NBA games during his career and was an eight-time All-Star player, a title given to the most successful contenders in the league.

So where does Yao rank among NBA centers? Where does he rank among foreign born players?

The 30-year-old is considered the NBA’s first renowned player from Asia. We can all agree he is China’s best, and helped bring the NBA popularity in China. When Yao was healthy he was one of the best in the game displaying excellent footwork, a brilliant touch, versatile low-post maneuvering, and clever on-court IQ. Although this is bitter sweet because we all wanted to see Yao excel, we can only cheer for him because he is walking away from the game wholeheartedly.

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One Response to “Yao decides to retire”

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