Now it's been announced that his career could be in complete jeopardy. Despite reports stating that Yao Ming has declared retirement, those allegations may be deemed false, and a press conference will be held on July 20th to announce what the true answer is.
Just think...at the age of thirty, he may be hobbling off into the distance, bags in hand, hitchhiking to either the broadcast booth or The Land of Retirement: Where People Can't Stand the Pending Boredom [<--- Will be a future post]
If the expected does happen, here is my tribute to him.
The Legacy of a Chinese RocketThis ran in his family.
His parents were basketball players. They were ridiculously tall (both well over six feet tall). You can basically tell where this is going...he was going to be one big baby. Heck, when he was ten, he was as tall as I am now (I'm about 5'5").
Not too long afterward, he began to play basketball. After hard training, some tough injuries, and pushes to win championships in China, he decided to enter the NBA Draft in 2002. I'll tell you one thing though--his friends had a lot of faith in him. A lot of Chinese officials gave him massive heat for entering an American Basketball Draft. Unless if he was picked first overall, he would not be allowed to play. "Team Yao" wouldn't have that, though. Lo and behold, he was chosen first overall by the Houston Rockets. Even though he wasn't the first Chinese man to play basketball in the United States, there was something different about him.
He broke many barriers.
Not many Chinese men can say that they have been successful in the NBA. Also, very few people thought he was going to be very successful in the NBA. However, he proved those people wrong. In fact, his quick success scared many competitors. To keep hopes up and the confidence fresh, many people played the "Asian stereotype" card to show that they were "ready" for Yao to come crashing through their home arenas. For example, Shaq's "ching-chang-chong-like" press conference and the promotion of fortune cookies in arenas were used. What was Yao Ming's response to this? Seeing the joke and then playing at his best. Even though he wasn't voted the NBA Rookie of the Year, he was still admired by many because of his skill and his talent.
He was a driving force.
Because of his chemistry with players like Tracy McGrady, he eventually became an eight-time All-Star and has led his team into the playoffs several times. Although he had not been there due to some injury, he had played a major role in many of the team's successes. He had also been a huge key on the Chinese National Team when it came to the Olympics and the FIBA Tournaments--where they have won gold medals in the FIBA Asian Championships. However, injuries began to plague his playing. His feet would not really "agree" with him. Although it is normal for a tall man like him to have injuries, they began to pile up until there was no room left for him to breathe. This past season, he was only able to play five games.
He is still a hero.
He is widely known in China as well as the United States because of his charitable work and his numerous advertising deals. He has gone so far as donating money to his home country after a natural disaster, and he has even bought his former Chinese team because of financial problems. Even if he does leave, he is still a might Chinese rocket and international ambassador to sports and charities alike.
However, despite the fact that he could be "retiring from the NBA," he's still technically one of the biggest (no pun intended) ambassadors when it comes to international basketball. I don't honestly think that this will be the end for him. Even though his feet are not agreeing with him, he's gonna have some frequent flyer miles after his official career is over.
Looks like we'll have to wait until July 20th to see what the true result is for our Chinese giant.
I think it may be almost time to say goodbye and go off into the distance...for now.