Yao Ming has Kevin Durant as a backer for this one – the newest notion running around since Yao Ming retired, of Yao Ming deserving or not, to be in the hall of fame. Durant: Tough, man, tough to see a great player and a great competitor like Yao Ming leave the game after being injured a few years. It was exciting to watch such a tall guy but that can shoot the basketball and put so much pressure on your defense by playing down low, and also his defense, too.
Sorry Kevin, I don’t agree with you. Yao Ming was a special talent. One of the three tallest players to ever play in the NBA, there has never been someone so tall with such an offensive skill set. Being a fantastic free throw shooter (83.3% during his career) also sets him apart from almost every other big man. But that’s where it ends. When I think hall of fame center, I’m thinking Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Artis Gilmore. And we’re just talking recent inductees.
Gilmore for example. At his peak, I’m not sure he was better than Yao. Longevity, however, has to count for something. Gilmore finished his NBA career averaging 17.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. He was even better during his ABA years. Was he something the world has never seen before? Not quite, not like Yao. But Yao Ming was in the NBA for seven seasons. I’m not counting the last two, in which he played a total of five games. I don’t need to bore you with his career numbers, which are hovering around the 20-10 numbers. He didn’t do it for long enough, and that hurts his bid.
As for the Ming effect on China and All-Star voting? It did generate huge money for the Rockets and the NBA in a new market. He created a huge buzz around him, got more All-Star votes than anyone else in history, but the Hall of Fame shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Ming was a good basketball player, but didn’t do enough for a long period of time to be considered a great one, hall of fame worthy. If only he would’ve had more success in terms of playoff achievements, making the conference semi final only once, maybe then my opinion would be different. Bottom line – Unfulfilled potential, not enough for the prestigious praise.