LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 26: Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26 2010 in Los Angeles California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Yao Ming To Be Nominated As 'Contributor' For 2012 Basketball Hall Of Fame

Yao Ming retired from the NBA and now there is a push from the Chinese Basketball Assn. to nominate him for the Hall of Fame in 2012 as a contributor to the game of basketball.

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Letters To Yao

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Yao Ming To Be Nominated For NBA Hall Of Fame As Contributor

Is Yao Ming a Hall of Famer? Serious debate on the issue likely would have picked up in 2017, the end of his five-year waiting period to be considered for the Hall of Fame. But the Chinese Basketball Assn. plans on working its way around that restriction.

According to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com, the CBA and the media in China will nominate Yao for the contributor category in 2012.The necessary paperwork is set to be filed in time before the 2012 ballot is finalized.

This designation has no time period set on it and reads as follows:

The Hall defines the category as "significant contributions to the game of basketball. What constitutes a 'significant contribution' shall be determined" by executives there along with the two committees that vote on induction.

This will have a huge impact on how the voters view him during the voting process. Yao did average 19 points and 9.2 rebounds for his career. Projecting those numbers across a fuller career, based on a reasonable amount of good health, Yao likely would have had an open-and-shut case for the Hall of Fame. Various foot injuries hurt his amount of time on the court, however.

But combine his on-court production with his status of global ambassador for basketball, Yao may very well have a strong case for enshrinement. He brought NBA basketball to billions in China and created goodwill around the world for the game. Will the voters see it that way? Certainly Yao's former coach, Jeff Van Gundy, thinks so.

For more on Yao's retirement, visit The Dream Shake and SB Nation Houston.

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Yao Ming Retirement Leaves Chinese Basketball Back Where It Was A Decade Ago: Without A Star

Yao Ming officially retired from basketball on Wednesday, holding a press conference in his hometown of Shanghai. Yao has anchored the Houston Rockets for (most of) the last nine seasons, but he's been even more important to the Chinese national team over a greater span. Yao led China to a solid performance in his nation's moment of sporting fame -- the 2008 Beijing Olympics -- and likely hastened the end of his career in the process.

But China has failed to see immediate dividends from Yao's epic rise and sustained excellence. While Yi Jianlian did follow Yao to the NBA to great fanfare, the smaller forward hasn't been nearly as productive or awe-inspiring as his predecessor, and it's unlikely he'll sign any sort of massive contract as a free agent this offseason. Further rising stars are few and far between.

Dan Levin wrote about the gaping hole in Chinese basketball Yao leaves for Tuesday's New York Times.

[H]is retirement is forcing many Chinese to acknowledge that their country has relied on Yao alone for victory and national pride, ignoring shortcomings in the state sports system that leave China facing a future bereft of N.B.A. and Olympic basketball glory.

"We can either choose to blame the gods and whine about our misfortune or we can step up to the plate and train the next generation of basketball talent," Zhang Weiping, a basketball commentator and former national team member, wrote in an editorial last week.

Yao's next offering to China may be years down the line, when children Yao inspired during his reign come of age and make the trek to the NBA. Unfortunately, that leaves enough space to kill any momentum Yao's reign itself created.

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Yao Ming Retirement Now Official After Shanghai Press Conference

Yao Ming made his retirement official on Wednesday, nearly two weeks after it was first reported. The 7-foot-6 center held a press conference in Shanghai, China, to announce his decision.

Unfortunately, because the big man was such an exceptional talent, Yao chalked his too-soon retirement up to the many injuries he suffered during his brief NBA career.

“At the end of the last year, my left foot had a third fracture,” Yao said. “Today, I need to make a personal decision. I will stop my basketball career and I will formally retire. Today, thinking back and thinking of the future, I have been very grateful. First of all, I need to be grateful to basketball. It has brought happiness to many people including myself.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Yao will not leave Houston — where he played his entire career with the Rockets — and has offers from both the Rocket and NBA commissioner David Stern to continue working in basketball.

“I’m utterly thrilled that we’re contemplating working with Yao as we continue to grow the sport of basketball,” Stern said. “We have a full force in China. We think Yao is equally committed. I think we’ll find ways to work together. We know him and we know his hopes for Chinese basketball.”

As much as Yao did to bridge the gap between China and the NBA during his playing career, there’s no telling what he might be able to accomplish while focusing on it full time now that he’s retired.

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Rockets Granted Permission To Attend Yao Ming Retirement Announcement Despite NBA Lockout

The Houston Rockets will have a representative at Yao Ming's retirement announcement in Shanghai this week despite rules barring communication between team officials and players during the NBA lockout, reports the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen. Rockets GM Daryl Morey will make the trip, per Feigen.

Word broke 10 days ago that Yao had filed retirement paperwork with the NBA; since then, it was announced that he'd hold a press conference announcing the decision on July 20 in his hometown of Shanghai. Yao was the Rockets' No. 1 pick overall in the 2002 NBA Draft, and spent all nine of his seasons in Houston. He only played in eight of those seasons, and has only played 91 minutes in the past two seasons combined due to recurring injuries to his foot.

At 7'6, Yao was at times a dominant center, one of few remaining in the NBA. He was an All-Star starter in every season, thanks no doubt to contributions from Chinese fans with internet connections. But he was also a regular on the All-NBA team, a testament to the fact his power wasn't just in fame, but also talent and production.

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Jeff Van Gundy: Yao Ming 'Is A Hall Of Famer'

The debate over Yao Ming's NBA legacy will be ongoing for a long time. One person who already has their mind made up over whether or not Yao's career is worthy of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame is his former coach, Jeff Van Gundy.

Van Gundy told the Houston Chronicle that he thinks Yao belongs in the Hall of Fame without a doubt.

"No. 1 to me, he’s a Hall of Famer," Van Gundy said. "I don’t care if you put him in as player, as a contributor or put him in with his own heading. This guy definitely gets in for the greatness as a player when healthy or what he did as ambassador."

He then added a thought he would repeat often.

"People forget," Van Gundy said, "just how good he was."

The one thing that will always be held against Yao was his durability. He missed 250 games in his last six seasons and played just five games in his last two seasons. Still, the debate will rage on until we find out for sure.

For more on Yao's retirement, visit The Dream Shake and SB Nation Houston.

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Yao Ming Retires As A Symbol, Never Just An Awesome Basketball Player

Yao Ming retires as an ambassador of the game and a cultural figure greater than most of his peers, but the saddest thing about his retirement is he never got the chance to grow out of that.

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Yao Ming Retirement Not Confirmed By Agency, But Press Conference Scheduled For July 20

News of Yao Ming retiring from the NBA made waves on Friday as the Chinese All-Star's career was cut too short by devastating injuries. One source that isn't confirming the reports, however, is Yao's own agency.

John Huizinga, Yao's primary agent at BDA Sports Management, told Ken Berger of CBS Sports that he wouldn't address Yao's reported retirement, citing his client's privacy. Yao will apparently end his privacy soon, though, because BDA Sports announced today that Yao will have a news conference July 20 in Shanghai according to Berger.

It seems awfully strange that Yao would wait nearly two weeks before addressing the reports of his own retirement, especially considering how great he's been as a basketball ambassador to China. He's probably earned that right, however, and it's hard to blame him for anything since he's apparently already made up his mind.

For more on Yao's retirement from the Houston Rockets, visit The Dream Shake and SB Nation Houston.

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Yao Ming Joins Shaq In Retirement, And Disappointment Lingers For Different Reasons

Yao Ming will join his old rival Shaq in retirement. Like Shaq, Yao's career may be considered a disappointment. But it will be considered as such for very different reasons.

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Yao Ming Retires With One Playoff Triumph Sticking In Our Minds

Yao Ming has informed the NBA he will retire after being stricken down with continued foot problems, according to a report. Yao played just 91 minutes of basketball over the past two seasons for the Houston Rockets after suffering a hairline fracture in his foot in Game 3 of the team's second-round playoffs series against the L.A. Lakers in May 2009.

It was in that series that Yao made himself one of the most sympathetic, easy to root for stars in the league.

Helped by Ron Artest, Yao reached the second round for the first time in his career in 2009, despite the absence of longtime co-star Tracy McGrady, who'd had season-ending microfracture surgery in February. With five minutes left in Game 1, there was a familiar sight: Yao wincing in pain. After colliding with Kobe Bryant, Yao hit the deck and held his knee. He limped off the floor and into the tunnel, accompanied by Rockets trainer Keith Jones.

The TNT cameras were back there, too.

The broadcast showed Jones emphatically directing Yao to the locker room to get checked out. Yao shakes his head and tries to walk back toward the court; after a brief argument, Yao bends over, stretches his knee and re-enters the STAPLES Center court (with some Lakers fans even applauding).

With Yao back on the court, the Rockets extended their lead and stole Game 1 on the road. At one point in the closing minutes, Yao scored eight straight points, an amazing triumph.

He went on the break his foot in Game 3, playing through it to finish that match but being ruled out for the season due to surgery. The Rockets stretched the series to seven before falling to the eventual champs; Yao never really came back after that. We're fortunate we got to watch such an amazing player during his prime, and even more fortunate that we could watch him in his greatest moment of triumph. That'll be my lasting memory of Yao.

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Yao Ming Retires: Career Stats Indicate Hall-Of-Fame Production When Healthy

Yao Ming's reported retirement from the NBA is especially sad to many NBA fans because the Houston Rockets center's statistics indicate he was truly was at the top of his craft when he was healthy enough to take the court. With his combination of size, strength and skills, Yao was arguably the NBA's best center when healthy. Alas, much like Bill Walton three decades earlier, that was only for a brief spell. His feet just could not withstand the pounding of the NBA game over the long haul.

When healthy, Yao put together some seasons where he could have vaulted himself into MVP consideration if he had stayed on the floor. In 2006/07, Yao peaked, averaging 26.6 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots per 36 minutes, posting a 26.5 PER, a 60.1 true shooting percentage and anchoring one of the league's best defenses on a 52-win team. Unfortunately, he only played 48 games. The next year, his numbers took a bit of a dip before he got hurt again. He had one more great year in 2008/09, averaging 21.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes in 77 games, but injured his foot in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers and played just five games for the rest of his career.

For his career, Yao averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in 486 games in eight seasons, plus the one he missed in 2009/10. He shot 52.4 percent from the field and a remarkable 83.3 percent from the line. It took him a couple years, but when he emerged, he was one heck of a force. Ultimately, though, he played in just 54 games per season due to injury. That will forever be his legacy.

For more on Yao's retirement, visit The Dream Shake and SB Nation Houston.

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Yao Ming Retires: Star Suddenly Decides To Leave NBA Following Injuries

Yao Ming has informed the NBA he intends to retire, reports Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski. It's unclear whether Yao can officially file retirement papers during the NBA lockout. Yao's contract with the Houston Rockets expired on June 30, and he would have been an unrestricted free agent if not for the lockout.

The last several years of Yao's career have been marked by repeated injuries. After suffering a broken foot during a playoffs series against the L.A. Lakers in 2009, Yao missed the entire 2009-10 season and played in just five games in 2010-11.

Houston made Yao the No. 1 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft after the Chinese player wowed team officials in workout sessions and interviews. He made the All-Star team in every season in which he played a game -- including last season, thanks to fan voting determining the starters. But he was also named to an All-NBA team in five out of his eight seasons in which he appeared in a game.

Yao owns a team in the Chinese Basketball Association. It's unclear whether he intends to attempt a basketball comeback outside of the NBA.

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