Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!Sports is reporting that the Rockets center has informed the NBA he intends to retire.
Yao is proof of how frail the line is between having a superstar stud who can make your franchise NBA title-worthy, or just being another team. If Yao is healthy, the Rockets are a contender. But he couldn't stay healthy.
At 7-feet-6, 310 pounds Yao was simply too big of a man to be able to play the NBA game. It is a shame, because when healthy he was truly one of the more dynamic big men to have ever played. And he was a wonderful international ambassador for the NBA into China.
The No. 1 overall pick of the Rockets in 2002 when he was 22, Yao played in 82 games only twice. Twice he averaged better than 20 and 10 seasons. No one thought he couldn't play. But his feet wouldn't allow him to stay on the floor.
Looking back on the 2002 NBA draft, not sure the Rockets could have done much better. Look at this list of stiffs and tell me the Rockets didn't draft wisely considering the options ...
1. Yao, Houston
2. Jay Williams, Chicago
3. Mike Dunleavy, Milwaukee
4. Drew Gooden, Memphis
5. Nickoloz Tskitishvilli, Denver
6. Dajuan Wagner, Cleveland
7. Nene Hilario, Denver
8. Chris Wilcox, LAC
9. Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix
10. Caron Butler, Miami
The only other genuine notable success of this first round is Tayshaun Prince, who was selected No. 23 by Detroit. Carlos Boozer was a second round pick. Luis Scola was selected with the 56th pick.
The best player of this class is Yao.
The best career belongs to Stoudemire.
But considering Yao's health and what the Rockets were unable to do with the No. 1 overall pick, it's hard not to call him a bust ... even if that is unfair.
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