One of the most popular players in the NBA, Yao Ming is an international superstar & the backbone of the Houston Rockets.
Yao Ming: Childhood & CBA
With parents who stood well over six feet and excelled in basketball themselves, Yao Ming was destined to tower over the basketball world. The biography of Yao Ming begins on September 12, 1980, in Shanghai, China, where Yao Ming would grow up playing for the Chinese Basketball Association's Shanghai Sharks. Yao Ming's passion for basketball only grew while watching a limited schedule of NBA games, including the Houston Rockets basketball team that won back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.
After gaining experience in international play and filling out physically, Yao Ming would go on to be a dominant force in the paint. On the strength of Yao Ming, Wang Zhi-Zhi and Menk Bateer, the Shanghai Sharks would make some noise in the CBA and in the 2000 Olympics to boot. In his final CBA season, Yao Ming averaged 32.6 PPG, 19.0 RPG, and 4.8 BPG en route to the Shanghai Sharks' first CBA title. The basketball world waited to see if Yao Ming's next stop would be in the NBA.
Yao Ming: Coming to America
In 2002, the Houston Rockets selected Yao Ming as the No. 1 pick. The Houston Rockets and the Chinese government would work out a deal where Yao Ming would play in the NBA and continue to play for the Chinese national team. The city of Houston, backed by a burgeoning Asian community, welcomed the 7-foot-6 center with open arms, flocking to buy Houston Rockets tickets to see Yao Ming in action alongside the explosive Steve Francis, Cuttino Mobley, and a cast of young Houston Rockets.
Adapting to the NBA's fast-paced style of play, Yao Ming got off to a slow start. By listening to his coaches, learning from his mistakes, and continuing to play his game, Yao Ming continued to improve game after game. Fans with Houston Rockets tickets knew the best was yet to come from the international sensation, Yao Ming.
Yao Ming: Rockets v. Lakers
Yao Ming enjoyed a breakout game on November 17, 2002, scoring 20 points (9-of-9 shooting) and 2-2 from the free-throw line against the Los Angeles Lakers. Whenever Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets matched up with Shaquille O'Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets tickets would fly out of the box office. In January 2003, Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal went head to head, with Yao Ming blocking three of Shaq's shots and posting 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Yao Ming: Busy Rookie Season
Throughout the rest of Yao Ming's rookie season, Houston Rockets tickets continued to sell out. Yao Ming had become one of the most popular players in the NBA and earned a slot in the All-Star Game. By the end of the regular season, Yao Ming averaged 13.5 PPG and 8.2 RPG, which helped him finish second in Rookie of the Year race. Behind Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets - who missed the NBA playoffs by just a hair - were a markedly improved team. A spokesperson for Apple and VISA, Yao Ming returned to China an international superstarYao Ming: Sophomore Season
After leading the Chinese national team to an Olympic playoff berth during the summer of 2003, Yao Ming entered his second NBA season under new head coach Jeff Van Gundy. That season, Yao Ming posted career highs in points (17.5) and rebounds (9.0) and was once again voted into the 2004 NBA All Star Game. Fans with Houston Rockets tickets cheered as Yao Ming led the Houston Rockets back into the playoffs. The Houston Rockets' rivalry with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers as the two teams battled in Round 1 of the playoffs. Yao Ming averaging 15 PPG and 7.4 RPG.
Yao Ming: New Running Mate
In the 2004-05 NBA season, fans would hungrily snatch up Houston Rockets tickets to see Yao Ming team up with Tracy McGrady - a pairing that made the Houston Rockets instant playoff contenders in the West once again. Both Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady were voted into the 2005 NBA All-Star Game, with Yao Ming breaking Michael Jordan's record for the most All-Star votes. With T-Mac and Yao Ming leading the way, the Houston Rockets posted 51 wins on the season, snagged the No. 5 seed, and faced off against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs. In Game 2 of the series, fans with Houston Rockets tickets saw Yao Ming turn in the best shooting performance in the playoffs in Houston Rockets history, hitting 13-14 field goals.
Yao Ming: Injuries
During his first three years in the NBA, Yao Ming had missed only two games; Yao Ming missed 21 games in the 2005-06 season after undergoing surgery on his left foot. After being voted into the 2006 NBA All Star game, Yao Ming wowed fans with Houston Rockets tickets, averaging 20-10 numbers at season's end. In the 2006-07 NBA season, Yao Ming was enjoying a breakout year, averaging 26.8 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 2.3 BPG, prior to injuring his knee in December 2006. Even with Yao Ming back in the line up, the Houston Rockets fell to the Utah Jazz in the first round.
Yao Ming: 2007-08 NBA Season
Ric Adelman was brought in to lead the Houston Rockets during the 2007-08 NBA season. To kick off the season, Houston Rockets tickets flew out of the box office as Yao Ming and fellow countryman Yi Jianlian squared off in November 2007. In what was one of the most-watched NBA games in history, fans worldwide tuned into the broadcast that was watched by over 200 million viewers in China alone.
Yao Ming was voted into the 2008 NBA All Star game. On the strength of Yao Ming's stellar play (22.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.0 BPG in 55 games), the Houston Rockets were rolling with a 12-game win streak. Yao Ming would go down with a season-ending surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. Despite the absence of Yao Ming, fans continued to buy Houston Rockets tickets to see their team make history with a 22-game win streak.
Yao Ming: The Future
After playing in his hometown China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Yao Ming is back, healthy, and ready to lead the Houston Rockets to victory this season. With Tracy McGrady, Ron Artest, and Yao Ming spearheading the charge, Houston Rockets tickets are the hottest tickets in the NBA. Don't miss one of the best big men in the league as he dominates in the paint, whether he's passing, posting up, shooting from the outside, or connecting from the free-throw line. This could very well be the year that the Houston Rockets escape the first round of the playoffs, and a healthy Yao Ming is a big reason why.