Lockout or not, injury-plagued Rockets center Yao Ming has put an end to what was once an illustrious NBA career.
Yao dominated the league early on, starting the All-Star game his rookie season after being selected number one overall in the 2002 NBA draft. Nine seasons later the 7’6″ star is being forced to retire, his left ankle not allowing a foreseeable return.
Shaq, a recent retiree himself, has reached out to Yao with the usual cliches but with a twist; he’s already invited his fellow Chinese big man on vacation.
Either way Yao became a restricted free agent on July 1, so a return to the league wasn’t guaranteed even barring the lockout. He made the all-star game eight times in eight seasons, and is already garnering Hall of Fame recommendations from several writers from top publications.