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Yao Ming

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Yao Ming (Chinese: 姚明; pinyin: Yáo Míng) (born September 12, 1980, in Shanghai, China) is a Chinese professional basketball player and is considered one of the best centers in the National Basketball Association (NBA) today. He is also among the tallest of players in the NBA standing at a height of 7'6" (2.29 m). He is the only son of his father Yao Zhiyuan and Fang Fengdi. He played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for five years, and now plays center for the Houston Rockets in the NBA. He was selected by Houston as the 1st overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft and signed with them on October 21, 2002.

He first started playing basketball when he was age nine, and he went to the junior sports school at the same age. When he was examined at age ten he was predicted to grow to the height of 7’3”. The Sharks invited him to try out for their junior team when he was thirteen, where he had to practice for 10 hours a day to make the team. He first dunked at age fifteen, and he made the senior team of the Sharks when he was seventeen.

The Sharks made the finals of the CBA in Yao Ming’s third season and again the next year, but lost both times to the Bayi Rockets. When Wang Zhizhi left for the NBA the following year, the Sharks finally won their first championship. During the playoffs in his final year, Yao Ming averaged 38.9 points and 20.2 rebounds a game, while shooting 76.6% from the field, and made all 21 of his shots during one game in the finals.

In the 2006 NBA All-Star game balloting, Yao again led all NBA players with 2,342,738 votes, and therefore started for the fourth straight time of his career.

On December 23, Yao fractured his right tibia. At that point he was leading the team with 26.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Before his injury, he had been mentioned as an MVP candidate.Yao missed the All-Star game due to his injury.He was medically cleared to play on March 4.

After being selected to the All-NBA third team twice, Yao was selected to the All-NBA second team for the first time in his career.

During the 2004 Athens Olympics, Yao carried the Chinese flag during the opening ceremony, which he said was a “long dream come true”. He then vowed to abstain from shaving his beard for half a year unless the Chinese national basketball team made it into the quarter-finals. After Yao Ming scored 39 points in a win against New Zealand, China lost 58–83, 57–82, and 52–89 against Spain, Argentina and Italy respectively. But in the final group game, a 67–66 win over reigning world champions Serbia and Montenegro moved them into the quarterfinals. Yao scored 27 points and had 13 rebounds, and hit two free throws with 28 seconds left that proved to be the winning margin. He was selected to the All-Olympics team with his performance, averaging 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting 55.9% from the field).

Yao’s injury at the end of the 2005-06 NBA season required fully six months of rest, which left some in doubt as to whether Yao would play in the 2006 FIBA World Championship. However, he recovered before the start of the tournament, and he carried the Chinese national team to the knockout stage of the World Championships, but was then defeated by Greece in the first knockout round.


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