Today’s Love: The Great Yao Ming

The Chinese basketball hero announced his retirement this week. We take a look back at why he's so important.

By Jorge Rivas Jul 21, 2011

Chinese basketball star Yao Ming announced he’s retiring on Wednesday. The 30-year old, 7-fooot-6 center who joined the Houston Rockets as the top draft pick in 2002, said he’s leaving the NBA due to injuries.

The name Yao Ming quickly became a national sensation when he joined the NBA. He’s been the tallest player in the league in recent years and the third tallest player ever in the history of the NBA. 

"Today is an important day for me and holds a special meaning for both my basketball career and my future," Ming said in a press conference in his home town.

"I had to leave the court since I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot for the third time at the end of last year. My past six months were an agonizing wait. I had been thinking (about my future) over and over. Today I am announcing a personal decision, ending my career as a basketball player and officially retire. But one door is closing and another one is opening."

Yet Ming’s lasting legacy is that he’s helped spread his love of basketball to international audiences. He’s seen as a hero in his native China, and has always carried his celebrity graciously — both on and off the court.

Ming plans to continue his philanthropic work with The Yao MingFoundation to improve the lives of children in China and the U.S.

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