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Report: Yao decides to retire
Question of the Day
Skeptics doubted Yao was ready for the league, but he made the All-Rookie team after averaging 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.74 blocks in 82 games. He was the only rookie to lead his team in both rebounds and blocks, and the only rookie to rank in the top 20 in three statistical categories.
Yao helped the Rockets reach the playoffs in the next two seasons. Houston acquired versatile star Tracy McGrady before the 2004-05 season, and the franchise envisioned the duo as the cornerstones of a championship team.
But Yao broke his left foot in a postseason game against the Lakers, and underwent complex surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2009-10 season. He lasted only five games at the start of the 2010-11 season, before breaking his left ankle. He underwent surgery in January, and was lost for the season again.
Yao, who turns 31 in September, missed a total of 250 regular-season games over the past six seasons due mostly to injuries to his left foot and leg.
The Rockets missed the playoffs for the second straight season in 2010-11, parted ways with coach Rick Adelman and hired Kevin McHale. McHale said Yao’s future with the team was contingent on his health.
“We’d all be really happy if Yao comes back to play, and I hope he can,” McHale said. “I think he’ll give it his best shot. His body is going to dictate if he can come back and play. That’s all going to be laid out in the future.”
“There was a fascination, with Yao Ming and the Chinese fans,” Ganis said. “It was almost like the Michael Jordan effect. The casual fans that Jordan brought to the NBA, when he retired, they simply disappeared.
“That doesn’t mean there isn’t interest, that doesn’t mean there isn’t significantly higher, long-term interest in the NBA there. But the numbers the NBA attracted, in Yao Ming’s heyday, will never be reached again _ unless there’s another Yao Ming around the corner.”
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
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