Yesterday Yao Ming announced his retirement, he will be missed by the Rockets, the fans and anyone who remotely follows basketball. Although not likely gaining entry into the Hall of Fame, his popularity over the entire world can’t be questioned. Last season when he injured his foot, many of the experts said that retirement might become a reality. In the end it turned out to be true.
Ming, while maybe not the best center in the game, is probably the most popular and is the NBA ambassador to Asia. NBA has flourished since his entry into the league. New foreign markets have opened up all over Asia. Markets that never would have opened, let alone have American players, playing there. Face it, in the past 10 years he is probably the most influential players in the league.
Looking at his stats, I might even be convinced to let him in the Hall. He was selected to the All Star game 7 of his 8 years in the league. Other than his rookie year, he averaged more than 17 points a game. He always was top 10 in blocks and rebounds, and he took a Rockets team who had lost Hakeem and turned them into a perennial power in the west.
Indeed the game of basketball is going to miss the soft spoken Giant from China. He needs to be kept on by the NBA as a game ambassador to Asia. The NBA needs more guys like Ming, the sport needs to clean it’s image. On a side note his basketball cards autographed go for a nice sum and if you don’t have one you should. Although not likely to increase too much in value, his value as one of NBA’s ambassadors can’t be overlooked. Most of his cards go for between $50-$75 and like I said I consider them a must have!