Yao Ming announced his retirement from the NBA on this date nine years ago.
The big man from China lived up to the incredible hype that surrounded him but retired at just 30-years-old because of foot injuries.
The Houston Rockets selected Yao with the first pick of the 2002 NBA Draft. He put on a show in a game against Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers in his rookie season. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, including multiple blocks against O’Neal.
Yao became a dominant force on both ends of the court. He was very skilled and athletic despite being 7’6 and 310 pounds.
Yao was an All-Star in all eight of the seasons he played in the NBA. He retired averaging 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. He also played well in the postseason, averaging 19.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 bocks per game, in 28 playoff games.
Yao was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. A few months later the Rockets retired his No. 11 jersey.