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Yao Ming’s Retirement Provides Disappointing Ending to Landmark Career 10

Posted on July 20, 2011 by Dean Hybl

When healthy, Yao Ming towered over the NBA.

In a perfect world he would have played another five years and be best remembered for having a Dirk Nowitzki –like moment where he put the Houston Rockets on his back and carried them to an NBA title. However, that was not the destiny for the NBA’s first Chinese superstar as fragile feet proved to be too much for Yao Ming to overcome.

Now that he has officially retired from the NBA after missing 250 games over the last six seasons, we are left to wonder what might have been had Ming’s body allowed him to live up to his full potential.

Unlike fellow NBA top pick Greg Odom, whose entire NBA career has been marred by injuries, we were able to get a glimpse of the talents of the 7-foot-6 Yao Ming during his first three seasons in the league.

After being the first overall pick in the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets in 2002, Ming played in 244 of 246 games during his first three NBA seasons. During that time, his production continued to increase from 13.5 points as a rookie to 17.5 in his second year and 18.3 during his third season.

His first battle with an injury occurred during the 2005-2006 season when Ming developed osteomyelitis in his big toe and missed 25 games. However, he quickly recovered from the injury and had his finest season to-date with averages of 22.3 points and 10.4 rebounds.

The Chinese born player was also becoming the NBA’s biggest global superstar and one of its most popular players. He was named to the NBA All-Star team every year between 2003 and 2009 and often received the most All-Star votes of any player. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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