A few weeks ago, reports surfaced that Houston Rockets center Yao Ming would be retiring from the NBA. On Wednesday, he told a packed news conference in his hometown that a series of foot and leg injuries forced him to end his playing career at the age of 30. Yao was selected by the Houston Rockets as the #1 overall pick in the 2002 and the rest is history. He played eight seasons in the NBA, but missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years.
“Today is an important day for me and holds a special meaning for both my basketball career and my future,” Yao said in comments translated into English. “I had to leave the court since I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot for the third time at the end of last year. My past six months were an agonizing wait. I had been thinking (about my future) over and over. Today I am announcing a personal decision, ending my career as a basketball player and officially retire. But one door is closing and another one is opening.” He also thanked the Houston Rockets and the city of Houston for helping him grow into a man.
As Yao Ming embarks upon the next chapter of his life, he leaves behind a legacy that promises to live on. Although he’s retiring from playing basketball in both the NBA and China’s national team, Yao said he will return to work with his former Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks, with the possibility of becoming general manager and plans to continue his philanthropic work with his Yao Foundation.
We’ll miss you Yao Ming!! You’ve made a lot of Asian Americans proud!!!
Yao Ming’s Retirement Speech
Yao Ming Press Conference on retirement with questions from the media (about 40 minutes long in Mandarin with English translation)
A look back at Yao Ming (career highlights with dunks, blocks, shots, and rebounds)
NBA commissioner David Stern on Yao Ming
Shaq on Yao Ming