He was larger than life, and on opposite sides of the world, the man who stretched seven-and-a-half feet into space changed the face of basketball forever. Yao Ming joined the Houston Rockets in the summer of 2002, just a few months removed from having led his Shanghai Sharks to the Chinese Basketball Association championship. Already a legend in his native China, the big center was poised to test his mettle against the best basketball players in the world. In eight NBA seasons, Yao made eight All-Star rosters, averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds, and was named to the All-NBA team five times. He was also a three-time gold medalist and three-time MVP at the FIBA Asia Championships. Yao was a cultural and physical phenomenon with the personality to balance the demands of playing in a foreign land on the biggest stage while bridging the social, economic, and political landscapes of two very different worlds.
BornSeptember 12, 1980 Shanghai, CN
Professional CareerHouston Rockets Shanghai Sharks
2000, 2004, 2008