Yao Gone Too Fu Manchu

by on July 19, 2011 updated April 19, 2014

So the NBA is locked out and we’re going to be yakking around for the next few months trying to figure out something to say besides the fact that the negotiations are at a standstill. If the NBA has any sense they’ll get the thing settled in a more expedient manner than the NFL.

In the meantime let’s take a few moments to remember Yao Ming, who is expected to make his official retirement announcement sometime today. Ming has been the face of the Houston Rockets for eight years now and no doubt he made his mark in the NBA. But he’s been a little more than a good NBA player.

Ming is a guy who has spread the news of the NBA around the world. No doubt NBA owners were licking their chops at the idea of bringing pro basketball to the 80 billion or so people in China, a market so vast it’s almost incomprehensible. And it’s a campaign Yao Ming rarely took a break from. In addition to his duties with the Houston Rockets, Ming was a member of the Chinese Olympic team, a fact that may have contributed to the physical problems he’s had in the last few years.

Being a big tall guy with heavy demands on his body, without time to recover, is not a good combo. Ming’s participation in representing his country on the basketball court cost him years in the NBA. But you have to hand it to a guy who could have defected or renounced his home country, a nation laden with problems. But he didn’t. So we only got a few years with one of the most enduring presences in basketball. It’s our loss.

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