51 Yao Ming (姚明)

Anonymous 3

simplified Chinese: 姚明; pinyin: Yáo Míng

Yao Ming


Chinese: 姚 (handsome or good-looking) 明 (bright or light)

Yao Ming (姚明) is a sports icon born September 12, 1980 in Shanghai, China. Yao was the child of two basketball players and married a basketball player (Ye Li). As a teenager, he played in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) for the Shanghai Sharks and later became the owner and president of the franchise in 2009. Yao Ming was a prodigy in China during his time, eventually allowing him to play professionally in the United States. Yao Ming was drafted to the NBA (National Basketball Association) in 2002 by the Houston, Rockets as a first overall pick in his rookie year. Being one of the tallest players to be drafted in the NBA (7’6 feet tall), he became dominant at the center position early in his career. Additionally, Yao Ming’s basketball achievements comprised 8x NBA All-Star, 2001 CBA MVP, 2002 CBA Finals MVP, 3x Olympian, 2003 All-Rookie First Team, 3x gold medalist, and 3x CBA Blocks Leader. Although his career was short due to injury in July 2011, he has accomplished many accolades that only a few receive, becoming a Hall of Famer.

Post-basketball career, Yao Ming became a composed and successful businessman after retirement. At the time, Yao was announced on the China Celebrity 100 list according to Forbes. As a businessman, Yao co-founded a private equity firm (Yao’s Investments), owned two restaurants (Yeeha Restaurant in Shanghai and Yao’s Restaurant in Houston), was the spokesman for international basketball relations, the creator of the Yao Foundation, and became the president of the Chinese Basketball Association. Yao would also have many sources of revenue due to his endorsement deals such as Apple, Reebok, and other Chinese media outlets. As the president of the CBA, Yao excelled in the game of basketball in Shanghai, China. Yao’s vision for Chinese basketball would have him eventually launch 47 leagues in China for the youth.

Although Yao was primarily known for basketball, he was one of the most influential figures in China. Because of Yao, international relations with China and the United States basketball were positive, the National Basketball Association gained a large following of new Asian viewers, and more kids from Asian countries wanted to play basketball because of Yao Ming’s movement. During his time, he was a cultural phenomenon for the country of China. Not only was he a good person, but he also played the game the right way.

As a kid up to adulthood, Yao Ming was my favorite player on the Houston, Rockets. He inspired me to play basketball at a young age and would inspire many other Asian Americans for more generations to come.

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