The 9 Years of Yao, 再見, and “My Left Foot”

When the NBA returns after the likely lockout, it will be missing two global icons. On Friday’s episode of Tim and Sid: Uncut, it was discussed between the boys about the news that the Houston Rockets centre, Yao Ming, has retired from the NBA. While Yao hasn’t officially made a statement or informed both the NBA or the Rockets, speculation leads many to believe that on July 20th, during a set press conference in Shanghai, Yao will officially retire from the game due to recurring injuries.

If Yao’s retirement comes to fruition, this will be the second big name centre in the last couple of months to leave the game of basketball. If you remember, on June 1st, Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement on TOUT. Without Shaq, the best centre of his generation, rapper, and movie star – and now Yao Ming – the man who brought the world to the NBA — the league is much smaller. In order to honour the big man from China, here’s a little jaunt down memory lane and a look of the 9 Years of Yao.

Yao Ming is selected by the Houston Rockets as the first pick in the 2002 NBA Draft on June 26th, 2002.

The long awaited match-up between Big Men, Shaq vs. Yao, took place on January 17th, 2003. Yao helped Houston secure the win, but Shaq stacked the score sheet with 31 PTS. and 13 REB.

On February 9th, 2003, Yao played in his first NBA All-Star Game, starting for the Western Conference. Yao received 1,286,324 votes in the All-Star balloting.

The 2003 All-Star game was also significant for the NBA because it was the last time Michael Jordan participated in the mid-season event.

In 2004, The Year of the Yao Documentary was released to tell the story of Yao’s first year as an NBA basketball player in the United States. 

Yao Ming not only made an impact in the United States, but he helped lead China to three gold medals at the FIBA Asian Championships (2001, 2003, 2005)

Yao played for China in 3 Olympics games (2000, 2004, 2008)

The 7 FT 6″ Chinese Giant shot an astonishing 83% from the free-throw line. Very impressive for a man of his size.

Prior to the Olympic games in 2008, Reebok released the Reebok Hexride Yao Ming that Yao wore during Olympic games in Beijing.

In 2009, Yao signed an agreement with three Shanghai Shark’s shareholders to buy their stakes. Yao went on to say that he was willing to “pay back his home team and Shanghai where he started his basketball career and help Shanghai return to glory.”

Yao’s hard work and determination on the court also mirrored his life outside the game of basketball. According to Yao, his work with charities and fundraisers was just “as important to him as playing basketball”. Some of the charities and fundraisers Yao has been involved in include: NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, Yao hosted a telethon which raised $300,000 to help stop the spread of SARS, he held an auction that raised $965,000, and after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Yao donated $2 million to relief work, and created a foundation to help rebuild schools destroyed in the earthquake. (wikipedia)

Yao also competed in a charity basketball match to raise money for underprivileged children in China. Steve Nash and Baron Davis were some of the NBA players that participated in the event.

Throughout Yao Ming’s 9 seasons in the NBA, he out-right played.

And I don’t think he even jumped here; much like most of his dunks.

Unfortunately, in February of 2008, Yao experienced one of his first serious injuries that sidelined him for the rest of the season – a stress fracture to his left foot. While he did recover and went on to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Yao missed the the entire 2009-10 season to repair a broken bone in his left foot. While the Rockets attempted to limit Yao’s playing time when he returned this past season, in December, it was again released that Yao would miss the rest of the season after just 5 games because of a stress fracture in his left ankle. 

As mentioned earlier, Yao Ming was a global icon and his gentle personality really came through many of the commercials he in acted in during his NBA career – even though he hardly talked in any of them.

Yao Ming Apple MAC Book


Yao Ming and VISA


Yao, Barkley, and Wade – T-Mobile


And sadly, the last time we’ll probably see Yao Ming play in the NBA. The injury took place on November 10th, 2010 against the Washington Wizards.


From all the Tim and Sidizens around the world, we bid you adieu Yao Ming. While you may never dress in an NBA game ever again, I’m sure your impact on the game of basketball and and the game of life globally will continue to grow.

Fuckin’ left foot!

* 再見 (Goodbye)

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