yao ming is retiring

Awww man. News broke today that Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has decided to retire after nine seasons in the NBA: Rockets' Yao set to retire.

It's a huge bummer, though I think we probably all saw it coming. Yao played just five games last season, after missing all of 2009-10, and hasn't been able to bounce back from having foot surgery in January. Alas, sources say he has informed the league office that he's retired. He's done.
Yao, who was the top overall pick of the 2002 NBA draft, finishes his career with per-game averages of 19.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots.

Yao had hoped the surgery would allow him to return for the 2011-12 season – and said he’d like to return to the Rockets. But he also conceded that he may have already played his final game.

Yao appeared to be nearing his peak when he averaged 19.7 points and 9.9 rebounds over 77 games in the 2008-09 season. But after helping lead the Rockets past the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs, he broke his left foot in a tough series with the Los Angeles Lakers. Yao underwent a complicated surgery – similar to the one that saved the career of Miami Heat center Zydrunas Ilgauskas – and missed all of the next season. He never truly regained his form, lasting just five games last season before suffering another stress fracture.
There's no denying the massive, immeasurable impact Yao Ming's presence has had on the globalization of professional basketball. But with injuries holding him back for much of his career, we never quite got the sense that we were seeing what he was fully capable of on the court. The news is disappointing -- Yao deserved to go out on a higher note.

I suppose this means he's headed home for good. Say goodbye, Houston. But with the NBA losing Yao Ming, does that mean the league will lose its Chinese fans too? You can find another really tall Chinese dude, but there's only one Yao Ming. More here: Reports: Rockets' Yao Ming will retire.

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