DOB: 12 de Septiembre de 1980
Place of birth: Shanghai (CHN)
Club: Houston Rockets, NBA (USA) - Retired
The son of two basketball players, Yao Ming began was born in Shanghai on 12th September 1980 and began his basketball career in his hometown with Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) league team the Shanghai Sharks.
Included in the Chinese youth setup from an early age, he represented China at the 1997 FIBA U22 World Championship in Melbourne, Australia. In 1999, he helped China win the first of four consecutive FIBA Asia Championships, while the 2000 Olympic Games saw his introduction to the world stage at senior level.
At only 18, Yao Ming was already a dominant figure in the Chinese League with the Shanghai Sharks, averaging around 25 points and 15 rebounds per game. His numbers improved to 30 points, 19 rebounds and 5 blocks per game in his last season in China.
In spite of a disappointing 12th place finish in the 2002 FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis, Yoa clocked up impressive stats of 21 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
His move to the NBA came that same summer, when he was drafted first overall of the 2002 pick by the Houston Rockets. In his first season with the Rockets he averaged 13.5 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game, falling just short of the Rookie of the Year award.
The 2004 Olympics saw him yet again average more than 20 points per game, while in Japan in 2006 he finished as the tournament’s top scorer, averaging 25.3 points per game.
In spite of fitness problems that had seriously threatened his participation in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Yao made a rapid recovery from surgery on his foot to finish as the tournament’s second best points scorer with 19 points per game.
Yao Ming has been elected to the NBA All Star Game in each of his seven seasons in the NBA, and he holds regular season stats of 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, while he has helped bring the rockets into the playoffs on four occasions, where his stats read just as well.
As his career has progressed and his already impressive stats have continued to improve, injury seems to have become the only thing able to stop Yao. Frequent and recurrent foot and ankle problems kept sidelined him for long spells and, to most basketball fans’ disappointment, forced him to retire in 2011 at only 30 years of age.
Nevertheless, in his shortened career the 222cm versatile centre is established himself as a legend of the game. His unique blend of height, quickness and strength that made him nearly unstoppable in international competitions, while he possessed a an expectional shooting ability for a player of his height.
Although not the first Chinese player to play in the NBA, Yao was singlehandedly responsible for putting Chinese basketball on the map, as millions of his fellow countrymen and women began playing and following the sport.