The "Ming Dynasty" has come to an end…
Had he been lucky enough to have a healthy career, Yao Ming could have not only gone down as one of the great big men, but also one of the greatest NBA players to play the game.
In only eight seasons, Yao still left his mark in the NBA.
Now that the Ming Dynasty has come to an end, it’s only right to take a trip down memory lane.
Yao MIng and Kobe Bryant
Yao Ming is a man of integrity.
His character is transparent; it’s evident in the way he carries himself on and off the court.
In my years of following Yao Ming, he has proven to be a true class-act. His unbelievable talent for a man his size, compounded with his humility, commanded respect from not only people within the Rockets organization but the rest of the NBA and the world alike.
I have never come across a negative story written about Yao Ming in my time as a Rockets fan. That alone speaks volumes.
Yao Ming, the person, was just as intriguing as Yao Ming, the basketball player.
One will never truly comprehend what Yao Ming did to the game of basketball. However, his early retirement might actually force us to.
Yao Ming is worth billions to the NBA. Yes, I said it! Billions...
As per the Sportsreport360, "David Stern's vision to move the NBA globally desperately needs Yao as the Ambassador of China, as there are billions of dollars at stake."
Yao is China's most renowned athlete. He has numerous sponsorships with a diverse selection of companies and has been one of the highest paid basketball players in the NBA since his arrival in 2002.
Yao even purchased all of the shares of the Shanghai Sharks and became sole owner of the team where his career began.
Yao's power doesn't end there. Yao Ming paved the way for mere role players too! Chuck Hayes and Shane Battier both have shoe endorsements in China.
Shane and Chuck can thank Yao for that one. I highly doubt any shoe companies in America were knocking down their doors. Just saying...
US brands alone have sold more in China during Yao's tenure in the NBA than any other time.
Yao Ming is a tremendous global asset.
Yao Ming and Shaq
Shaquille O'Neal has been the NBA's premier big man since his arrival in 1992. Yao Ming, no matter how good he was, would always be compared to Shaq.
Unfortunately, Shaq has jewelry to defend the "big man dominance" argument. Yao Ming can solely let the eyes of the fans do the debating.
In my opinion Yao is one of the most skilled big men, behind Hakeem Olajuwon, to ever to play the game. The most dominant? Eh, maybe not. However, he's shown flashes.
The Jeff Van Gundy era forced Yao to develop this sense of meanness—a nastiness—with which the best superstars in the game play. Van Gundy wanted Yao to stop being a "nice guy" and play with an attitude.
I remember the play like it was yesterday.
Yao Ming was fouled hard but managed to make the basket, forcing an "and-1" play. After the play, Yao screamed a loud F-Bomb and the cameras caught it.
I nearly jumped out of my seat as that was the first time I saw Yao show any real emotion. That was the beginning of the truly dominant Yao Ming.
Yao has shown flashes when he is clearly unstoppable, no matter who is guarding him—including Shaq. That was when the Rockets played their best basketball.
If only his feet held up, who knows how Yao Ming's career could have ended?
Yao Ming could never catch a break, but he was pretty good at breaking his feet.
The injury bug has been prevalent in H-town for quite some time. Only when it bit Yao, he was never truly able to bounce back.
Broken legs, fractured feet are all due to standing 7'5, weighing 320 pounds and playing year round for the NBA and China in the summer.
The miles Yao Ming put on his body clearly caught up to him. When healthy, we saw glimpses of a future Hall of Famer.
Unfortunately, the only picture fans are used to seeing is Yao Ming either sitting on the bench in street clothes or on crutches.
It's a sad story, especially for a player who had so much potential.
The one thing that separates Yao from the rest of the hundreds of players who fail before they reach their potential is we finally started to see Yao tap into his.