Fair Warning, this is a really long article, if you don’t care about basketball you won’t enjoy it at all. Luckily, theres a convenient youtube video that essentially sums up everything I’m about to say.
Yes, Yao hatched from a basketball egg and flew a rocket around Houston to celebrate getting drafted number 1. Afterwards he was presented with his game jersey by David Stern, who at the time looked like a Goomba from Mario. Now Yao is enjoying his retirement riding a shark around the Pacific Ocean.
Anyway, Yao Ming made his retirement official last wednesday in Shanghai, announcing the conclusion of his career surrounded by his family. For those of you who don’t care about the NBA, Yao entered the league during the 2002-2003 season after being drafted number 1 by the Houston Rockets. He was the first international player to be drafted number one in the NBA draft, although that fact is a bit dubious because the only way the Chinese Basketball Association would allow Yao to enter the NBA was if he had been selected with the number one overall pick. Yao’s legacy is one that is a bit muddled, given that his impact on basketball off the court has surpassed his on court accomplishments to the point that the two have become intrinsically linked in the minds of several NBA analysts. But what is Yao’s legacy, and how does it really compare to another prominent international big man known more for his work off the court than his game on it?