Continued from page 1

He’ll stay active with the team he owns in the Chinese league, though at just 30 it seems he should still have more time on the court. But he gave so much to the Rockets, and especially the Chinese _ “team first, team last, team always,” Van Gundy said _ that it subtracted from what could have been a greater individual legacy.

His first major injury came in the 2005-06 season, his first with averages of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Instead of a full summer off, he went to Japan for the worlds. So fatigued in China’s final group stage game that he couldn’t even cross halfcourt on some possessions, he summoned the energy to play all 40 minutes, scoring 36 points against NBA centers Rasho Nesterovic and Primoz Brezec to will the Chinese to a 78-77 victory over Slovenia, pumping his fists after a spot in the knockout round had been clinched.

“Maybe only he can do those things,” China coach Jonas Kazlauskas said.

It’s a shame he can’t do them anymore.

___

AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan in Houston contributed to this report.

___

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney