Yao Ming is one of the tallest basketball players ever at 7'6, and has always been one of the most popular because of his height. He also is credited as to being the main factor for the NBA to be successful in China, where Yao grew up. After averaging 38.9 points per game and 20.2 rebounds per game in his last year in China, Yao would enter the 2002 NBA draft.
Initially, CBA rules prevented him from playing in the NBA. But once they were changed, Yao was drafted first overall by the Rockets. At first, he struggled. Many experts did not think Yao would become a good player. But once he got going, Yao put up great numbers and finished second in rookie of the year voting, loosing to Amar'e Stoudemire. He also was unanimous first team All-Rookie.
Yao continued to have success, and scored the most points of any center from 2002-2009. Teamed with Tracy McGrady in 2004, the Rockets had playoff berths every year from 2004. However the team was always known as a playoff disappointment as they did not make it past the first round until 2009, when they lost in round two.
From then on, Yao's injury problems started, and ultimately caused him to retire. He sat out the entire 2009-2010 NBA season due to a foot injury. He returned for 2010-2011, but by December he would miss the rest of the NBA season with the same foot injury. He still was voted an all-star. Yao's recovery has reportedly been going slow, which appears to have caused him to retire.
Yao Ming finishes is shorter then expected NBA career averaging 19.0 ppg, and 9.2 rpg. He also has 1.9 blocks per game. He averaged 19.8 ppg in the playoffs. His awards and recognitions include 8 All-Star games, 5 All-NBA awards (three second-team, two third-team), and was also Sporting News rookie of the year for the 2002-2003 season.
Yao Ming will always be remembered as one of the NBA's most popular players, and for being the first Chinese NBA player to have success in the league. It is a shame that injurys caused him to retire early, as if he was healthy, he may have been able to play five or six more years.
The Houston Rockets now can move on though, not having to hold back on adding players because of Yao Ming's presence and not knowing if he would have a productive year coming up.
In the end, Yao will always be remembered for what he brought the game off the court, but not on it. He could have been better, but still had a good career. He is no Hall of Fame player, but was a good NBA players and at times was dominant. It is sad to see him go wondering what could have possibly been.