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.
Profile of Yao Ming
Born: September 12, 1980
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. >>>
Ming dynasty ends
Always fluent in basketball
"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 " >>>
2005-2006 season, absent for 21 games
2006-2007 season, absent for 32 games
2007-2008 season, absent for whole play-offs
Bench frequenter from then on
2009-2010 and 2010-2011 opening: absent for 86 games (whole season of 2009-2010)
Nov 11, 2010 till now: absent for 77 games
A chinadaily.com.cn 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.
"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
Minor Injuries Incomplete Statistics
"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." >>>
- Xinhua commentary
What heritage has Yao Ming left besides basketball?
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." >>>
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 chinadaily.com.cn
July 19, 2011