Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – In 2002 the Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming with the number overall pick. 15 years later, the Rockets are honoring the 7’6 big man by making sure no one will ever again where the number 11 again.
“We only retire really great-great players, and Yao is a great-great player,” Rockets owner Les Alexander said.
Yao’s career in Houston did not last as long as he/fans/management wanted, but for the seven seasons, he played after coming over from China, he was a force to be reckoned with.
“He was one of the toughest guys to play against,” Dwight Howard said. “He’s 7’6 and he could shoot the ball like a point guard, and he had post work, he’s just a big guy and I enjoyed playing against him.”
In Yao’s eight seasons he averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds while shooting 83% on free-throws which is nearly unheard of for a center, let alone someone of his size.
With the Rockets retiring his jersey he will join; Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, Moses Malone, Rudy Tomjanovich, Carroll Dawson, and Hakeem Olajuwon amongst the rafters forever.
“I hope the people see the jersey there can remember the story,” Yao Ming said. “The story not only about myself but my teammates and my opponents, we created a story together.”