Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has decided to retire after nine NBA seasons, Yahoo! Sports and the Houston Chronicle have reported, citing league sources.
Yao's contract had expired after this past season with the Rockets, who have missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
They played nearly all of that time without Yao as he battled various injuries. He was limited to five games last season after missing all of 2009-10.
I remember first reading about Yao in an old issue of ESPN the Magazine years before he was drafted. They were sure he was going to be the next big thing and it looked like it for a while. But his feet were never able to hold up and he couldn't live up to the hype, as a result. He had a good few years, but could have been so much more. Sorry to see him go so soon, especially since an extended lockout could have really helped him heal from his injuries.
I hope that by retiring from basketball, he's able to get some semblance of his health back. From all accounts he's a nice guy, and will unfortunately probably go down as one of the biggest "what-if?" stories in the NBA.
"Let me tell you something, Leo... after heroin and cocaine, tobacco is next." "Great. Another criminal empire we can give birth to." --President Jed Bartlet and Leo McGarry, The West Wing
Fan of the Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI Champions), Indiana Pacers and Washington Nationals
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Co-Winner of Time's Person of the Year Award, 2006
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And it's from another guy named Alessandro, go figure: I heartily endorse the part about changing the age requirement so that young players who have the raw talent (but haven't mastered the skill set yet)