WATCH: Yao Ming Career Mixtape

Yao Ming is one of the headliners at this year’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement—take a look above at highlights of his remarkable NBA career.

Foot injuries forced Yao into retirement in 2011 at the age of 30, but he left an indelible mark on the game across the world.

The big fella was a beloved teammate, as Tracy McGrady recalls.


When I finally met him, I realized two things: he does speak English and not only does he speak it, he has an amazing sense of humor. […] I loved seeing his personality come out more and more over the years as he got more comfortable in Houston. That’s how I really learned what an amazing person he is. He will sometimes just pretend he doesn’t speak English — he does that even to this day!


That’s why Yao getting into the Hall of Fame is so deserved. His skills for a man his size were just unbelievable. He could do everything. He could post up, score with either hand, shoot a jumper, he had an array of moves. He could block shots. He passed so well and that’s so rare for a guy his size. […] I’d never played with a big man of his caliber. I didn’t know he was that skilled before I came to the Rockets, but then I saw it every day in practice, every day before games, after games. He really put in the work to perfect his craft — he even took our technical foul shots because he was that great of a free throw shooter.


Then there was Yao’s impact on the global game. You have to understand, before him, basketball wasn’t popular in China. I had made trips there before he came into the league, and there was basketball, but it wasn’t a part of the Chinese culture. […] Now, there’s over 300 million people in China playing because of Yao Ming.

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