Ming YAO biographie
International basketball sensation Yao Ming is a three-time Olympian with three top-10 finishes for his native China. Making his Olympic debut in 2000 in Sydney (placed 10th), Ming also represented his country two more times, at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games (eighth in both), where he was also China’s flag bearer in the Opening Ceremony on both occasions. He was an Olympic Torch Relay runner for the 2008 Olympic Games in China, carrying the Olympic Flame into Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Ming played five seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) with the Shanghai Starks before moving to the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States. He was the number one overall draft pick, taken by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA Draft. Ming earned all-star honours in his first seven seasons, helping the Rockets to playoff appearances in five of those years. He played his entire NBA career in Houston, but due to constant injuries, retired in 2011.
Due to his international star status, the exceptionally tall Ming (even by NBA standards) stood 2.29m (7 feet 6 inches), and became the focus of the NBA's efforts to popularize the league around the globe. The NBA began producing All-Star ballots in three languages (English, Spanish, Chinese) for fan voting of the starters for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. Ming received nearly a quarter-million more votes than American superstar Shaquille O'Neal, and he became the first rookie to start in the All-Star Game since Grant Hill in 1995.
Ming was one of China's most recognizable athletes and among the most marketable with millions of dollars earned in sponsorship deals,. He even bought his former club team (Shanghai Sharks) when financial troubles threatened their stability. He is a supporter of the Special Olympics where he served as a Global Ambassador and was a member of the International Board of Directors. Ming has partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation and WildAid as an ambassador for their “Say No” campaign dedicated to elephant and rhinoceros conservation and filmed a documentary, along with numerous public service announcements.
Born in Shanghai, China, both of Ming’s parents were professional basketball players and both were very tall - his father Fang Feng Di was 2.01m (6 feet 7 inches) and his mother was 1.90m (6 feet 3 inches).