HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – According to multiple Chinese media reports, the Houston Rockets will retire number 11 to honor former center and recently enshrined Basketball Hall of Famer Yao Ming during the 2016-17 season.
China Radio International’s English website cited that the China’s Basketball Pioneers website posted on its Weibo (China’s most prominent social media platform) account that an unnamed member of the Rockets front office said there was a plan in place to honor Yao during the upcoming season.
According to the report the Rockets plan to hold the ceremony close to the Chinese Lunar New Year which will be near the end of January 2017.
With the Rockets on the road during the end of the Lunar Year, the Rockets could likely hold the ceremony with a January 20th home game against the Golden State Warriors or upon their return at some point during a three game homestand against the Sacramento Kings (Jan. 30), Atlanta Hawks (Feb. 2) or Bulls (Feb. 3).
Yao, who spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Rockets, would be the sixth player to have his number retired by the organization. Yao would join Rudy Tomjanovich (45), Calvin Murphy (23), Moses Malone (24) Hakeem Olajuwon (34), and Clyde Drexler (22) in the rafters of Toyota Center.
Yao entered the Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday alongside Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal and former Houston Comet Sheryl Swoopes.
The Rockets have not assigned number 11 since Yao’s retirement after his retirement in July of 2011. Rockets owner Les Alexander told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen in November of 2012 that the organization planned to retire his jersey “sometime”
The Rockets will open the pre-season on October 2nd against the Yao owned Chinese Basketball Association Shanghi Sharks at Toyota Center.
The Rockets did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
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