Ciao, Yao

Editor's Note:


At just one-year old, Yao Qinlei will never get to see her famous father play on court. The little girl will have to watch videos later in life to see the magical skills that made her father a global celebrity.


Yao Ming, China's most successful sport export and influential athlete nationwide, has finally kissed goodbye to the court and fans. The CBA champion, life of the national team, NBA multi all-star player, bridge of China-US cross-culture, charity devotee and commercial darling will even stand tall off court, as he did on court, as a heritage of Chinese basketball and sport.


The end of a spectacular era also marks the final chapter of a sporting icon. But let's pray for the beginning of another as we bid farewell.

Click to leave wishes for Yao  
Live Report of the conference

Ciao, Yao

Profile of Yao Ming


Born: September 12, 1980
Native: Shanghai, China
Height: 2.29 meters
(NBA's tallest player)
Weight: 104.6 kilograms
Nickname: The (Ming) Dynasty,
The Great Wall (of Yao), Big Yao
Incumbent team: Houston Rockets
Position: Center
Jersey Number: 11
Appearance: 486 NBA games
Career averages: 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game
NBA Titles: None
All-Star: 8 times (played 6)
Draft: No 1 overall pick by Houston Rockets in 2002



Ciao, Yao



End of The Ming Dynastry

It's final. In a news conference held in Shanghai and broadcast live in China on Wednesday, Yao Ming announced his retirement from basketball, staging an emotional end to a glorious career. >>>


Thank you, Yao

For Chinese all over the world, it was a proud moment when Yao Ming carried the national flag at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.>>>


Shanghai: Home city anticipates return of the big guy

Yao Ming has retired, but his popularity won't wane, at least in his hometown.>>>


Houston: Love for star will never die

Though regretting Yao Ming's decision to retire, Chinese fans across America are adamant they will continue their support for the all-star center and support his charity foundation and Yao Restaurant in Houston. >>>

Ciao, Yao

Ciao, Yao


Yao Influence

Ming dynasty ends
When Yao Ming announced his retirement at a press conference in his hometown of Shanghai, it closed the door on an all-star and possibly Hall of Fame career, but also dimmed the lights somewhat on the game in China.>>>


Always fluent in basketball
Yao's first-year coach Jeff Van Gundy had no difficulty communicating with his towering star. "He worked hard at his English but he spoke perfect basketball. He didn't need any help on the court. He had a superior basketball IQ." >>>


How do you gauge impact of a giant?Ciao, Yao Larry Bird and Magic Johnson revived a moribund league in the '80s, Michael Jordan made it soar to new heights in the '90s, but it was the tall (OK, extremely tall) center from Shanghai, Yao Ming, who led the NBA into the massive Chinese, and by extension Asian, market.>>>



Wang Zhizhi, Yao's national teammate: "Yao has been troubled by injuries for several years, and he was forced to make the decision. It's unfortunate and a great loss for Chinese basketball. His retirement will have a big effect on China's play in the Asian Championships this year and next year's London Olympics.">>>


Influence:  Ciao, Yao

Colin Pine became Yao's interpreter in 2002 after defeating over 400 candidates. Pine later became famous himself. He was profiled by and the Associated Press, which then called the 1.78m Pine "the little guy hovering in the shadow of the player touted as the NBA's next big thing".>>>

Ciao, Yao



Ciao, Yao

Ambassador Yao

Ciao, Yao

"I don't know if my backbone is long enough to set up a bridge between China and the US, but I'm willing and I'll try my best to increase the mutual understanding between the two peoples " >>>
- Yao Ming

Major Injuries Chart

2005-2006 season, absent for 21 games
Dec 18, 2005: vs Los Angeles Clippers, infected wound on right toe
April 11, 2006: vs Utah Jazz, right toe fracture

2006-2007 season, absent for 32 games
Dec 27, 2006: vs Los Angeles Clippers, right tibia fracture

2007-2008 season, absent for whole play-offs
February 27, 2008: diagnosed with left ankle stress fracture, following Rockets' seasonal 12 consecutive wins.

                             Bench frequenter from then on

2009-2010 and 2010-2011 opening: absent for 86 games (whole season of 2009-2010)
5 May 9, 2009: vs Los Angeles Lakers, first round play-offs, left foot fracture

Nov 11, 2010 till now: absent for 77 games
End of Yao's NBA career: vs New Jersey Nets, sidelined by left ankle stress fracture

Ciao, Yao

Sportsman Yao

Ciao, Yao

A poll shows that 71.93% respondents believe no one from Chinese basketball now is capable of taking on Yao's role and his departure will endanger the NBA in China. 

    Buddy Yao

Ciao, Yao

"Sad day for the NBA. Sad day for basketball around the globe. My teammate and great friend Yao Ming is retiring."
- Tracy McGrady

"Yao is one of my all time favorite teammates and people."
- Shane Battier

Ciao, Yao Injured Yao stresses emotional attachment to Houston

Ciao, Yao Coaches and teammates tweet about Yao's retirement

Minor Injuries Incomplete Statistics

Ciao, Yao 

      Legend Yao

Ciao, Yao

"It is Yao Ming who makes the kids in China like basketball and it's also Yao Ming who makes the kids know how a real professional basketball player should be."  >>>
- Xu Jicheng, basketball commentator

"Yao carried the heavy expectations of 1.3 billion people on his back with grace and humility and the game is better for it."  >>>


Ciao, Yao

Ciao, Yao
Video: China Daily exclusive interview with Yao 

"When I was in Houston, I took part in some charity activities with the team, and that made a deep impression on me. These activities gave me a sense of satisfaction."  >>>

"Only if the whole league becomes better can the single team become better. It works the same way for charity work. By helping others and showing them the love, you yourself can be lifted to another level."  >>>

"Thankfully, I have a good team now. But that does not mean I can stand aside. I listen to reports regularly and give them my ideas, I have my thoughts and I want to realize my dreams." >>>

"Basketball gives me infinite pleasure and I hope I can enjoy it as long as possible." >>>



Ciao, Yao


Ciao, Yao

Yao Ming became the first foreign-born player without US college experience to be drafted as the No 1 overall pick in the NBA history.


During his nine seasons with the Rockets, he achieved career averages of 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in the 486 NBA games he played.


Yao has been selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game eight times, and has been named to the All-NBA Team five times.


He has helped the Rockets reach the playoffs four times, and the Rockets won a first-round series in the 2009 postseason - the first time since 1997.


Produced by

July 19, 2011