Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has retired from the NBA.
While the timing of this news came as a surprise, I think for most, including myself, this announcement at some point was expected.
The saga is finally over. While respects are due, my overwhelming emotion is one of relief. The grief and the pain have long past. This outcome had been for too long a delayed inevitability. This team and its fans could no longer cling to a false hope and the time is now to turn the page and move on.
Yao Ming will not, and should not, ever be forgotten. From the moment he awkwardly greeted us from his home upon his drafting to the moments of courageousness he displayed during his tenure, memories abound for which to be proud. He was a pioneer and ambassador. He was a model citizen and teammate. And when healthy, he was the best center in the NBA and the cornerstone of our team.
He captivated us from the start. His outburst in Dallas his rookie year to his battles with O’Neal. His dominance in ’06 when before injury, he was on pace to contend for the MVP. His ‘Willis Reed’ against LA, the return from injury after dramatic minutes in the tunnel. We’ll replay those moments on screen and in our minds as we raise his banner to the rafters. Yes, it is a fair bet that the #11 n Houston will never again be worn.
He may not have the numbers, but for impact on the game, Yao Ming is an obvious choice for the Hall of Fame. If I had a vote, he would be in. Few have done more for the globalization of basketball.
Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has retired from the NBA. He was the first overall pick just a decade ago and spent his entire career here with this team. Yao will be missed and forever remembered; for the Rockets, the time has come to move on.