25 Facts About Yao Ming

1. Yao Ming established The Yao Ming Foundation in June 2008 for rebuilding schools in Sichuan Province, where experienced a massive earthquake in May 2008, in China.

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2. On July 16, 2009, Yao Ming bought his former club team, the Shanghai Sharks, which were on the verge of not being able to play the next season of the Chinese Basketball Association because of financial troubles.

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3. Yao Ming serves as Global Ambassador and member of the International Board of Directors.

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4. Yao Ming has participated in many charity events during his career, including the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program.

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5. Yao Ming eventually signed with Coca-Cola for the 2008 Olympics.

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6. Yao Ming was signed by Nike until the end of his rookie season.

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7. Yao Ming is one of China's most recognizable athletes, along with Liu Xiang.

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8. In 2009, Yao Ming provided the voice for a character of a Chinese animated film The Magic Aster, released on June 19.

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9. Yao Ming met Chinese female basketball player Ye Li when he was 17 years old.

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10. Yao Ming scored the first basket of the game, a three-pointer, in China's opening 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament game against the eventual gold medal-winning United States.

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11. Yao Ming carried the Chinese flag and led his country's delegation during the opening ceremony.

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12. Yao Ming was named the MVP of all three tournaments.

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13. Yao Ming would have been eligible for induction as early as 2012, but Yao felt it was too soon and requested that the Hall of Fame delay consideration of the nomination.

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14. On July 20, 2011, Yao Ming announced his retirement from basketball in a press conference in Shanghai.

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15. In July 2009, Yao Ming discussed the injury with his doctors, and the Rockets applied for a disabled player exception, an exception to the NBA salary cap which grants the injured player's team money to sign a free agent.

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16. Yao Ming missed the 2008 NBA Playoffs, but he did not miss the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, China in August.

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17. Yao Ming was voted to be the starting center for the Western Conference in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game for the second straight year.

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18. Yao Ming received nearly a quarter million more votes than O'Neal, and he became the first rookie to start in the All-Star Game since Grant Hill in 1995.

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19. Yao Ming said he believed O'Neal was joking, but he said a lot of Asians would not see the humor.

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20. Yao Ming was not angry with the promotion because he was not familiar with American stereotypes of Chinese.

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21. Yao Ming was widely predicted to be picked number one overall.

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22. Yao Ming was pressured to enter the NBA draft in 1999 by Li Yaomin, the deputy general manager of the Shanghai Sharks.

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23. Yao Ming is one of China's best-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies.

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24. Yao Ming reached the NBA Playoffs four times, and the Rockets won the first-round series in the 2009 postseason, their first playoff series victory since 1997.

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25. Yao Ming is the only player from outside of the United States to lead the NBA in All-Star votes.

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