Hold your horses said one of the Agents – Yao hasn’t made it official. He has a press conference on the 20th of July, and you’ll know everything you need to know then. Still, becoming a restricted free agent last week while the league is locked out, playing only 5 NBA games since the 2009 playoffs, all the injuries and surgeries and only one playoff series win in seven years, it’ll be good to bet on Ming not playing any more NBA games.
Career averages of 19.2 points and 9 rebounds per game, four playoff appearances and being a guaranteed All-Star due to the Incredible Chinese following 8 times and mostly starting an Chinese fascination with the game unlike ever before and probably won’t return for quite a while, until some like Yao makes it to the NBA again.
Ming was probably the best and most versatile center in the league offensively after Shaq started fading away, but was always thwarted by his fragility and injuries.
Yao Ming played 486 games since his debut in the league 2002. He missed only two games during his first three seasons in the league. The problems began during his fourth season, missing 25 games. He had an incredible run during that season after the All-Star break, averaging 25.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game. That season was followed by two more season in which he missed over 60 games. In 2008-2009 he played 77 games, but that injury in the 2009 playoffs signaled the beginning of the end.
He missed the entire 2009-2010 season, recovering from the surgery done on the broken bone on his left foot. The Rockets planned a limited return in the 2010-2011 season. No more than 24 minutes a night, no back to back games. That didn’t last very long.
The 30 year old, 7’6 center will probably be mostly remembered for what could have been – His partnership with Tracy McGrady that could have brought the Rockets to long forgotten heights but never really materialized. For the following from China, making him an automatic All-Star started each year, no matter how well or not he was playing. But unfortunately, despite his talents and abilities, we’ll mostly remember him for the injuries and what was missed.