The End Of An Era: Yao Ming

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I've been so far out of the news-o-sphere that while you may have known this - well - I just found out:

A large scroll behind the player who brought China to the NBA and the NBA to China summed up the occasion.

"Ming xie," it said in large Chinese characters that, loosely translated, mean "Yao Ming, thanks, the end."

Yao, with teary eyes at times and dressed in an equally somber black suit, closed the book Wednesday on his eight-year career with the Houston Rockets, conceding that injuries finally got the best of him.

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"My past six months were an agonizing wait. I had been thinking (about my future) over and over," the 30-year-old Yao said in comments translated into English. "Today I am announcing a personal decision: ending my career as a basketball player and officially retire. But one door is closing and another one is opening."

Yao said he would return to work with his former Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks, with the possibility of becoming general manager. He already owns the club and wants to contribute more.

"My playing career started with the club. I hope I can do something for it," Yao said.

Yao's wife, Ye Li, and their 14-month-old daughter, Yao Qinlei, and Yao's parents, Yao Zhiyuan and Fang Fengdi, were in the room. Qinlei was dressed in a red qipao, a traditional Chinese dress.

He later appeared with his family on the stage to the applause and cheers of the crowd.

"I will be always with you," he said.
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