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Yao Ming :: Chinese Basketball Star

Birthdate: September 12, 1980
Birthplace: Shanghai, China

Chinese-born NBA star Yao Ming is the face of these Beijing Olympic Games. Kidzworld's got the 411 on this super tall center for the Houston Rockets!

Growing Up, Growing Big

When Yao Ming was still in kindergarten, he was so tall that he had to buy an adult ticket to ride the bus in China. In the first grade, Yao was taller than his teacher. By the time he was a teenager, his parents had to raise the heating vents in their house to make room for all seven feet of Yao.

Yao's height and basketball sense come from his parents. Yao's mother is six feet three inches tall while his father is six feet, ten inches. Both played professional basketball in China during the 1970s. Coaches in China had their eyes on Yao from the time he was a little kid growing up in Shanghai. When he was 13, Yao Ming began attending a special basketball school in China to help his development.

Giant Steps

While Yao Ming kept growing, his basketball game kept improving and more scouts kept watching. He became known for being an all-around great player. He could make highlight reel slam dunks, block shots and hit three-pointers. Yao was 18 when he began playing for the Chinese National Team and in 2000 he led the team in rebounds and blocks at the Olympic Games in Australia. In 2002, Yao Ming was drafted first overall in the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. Yao joined Wang Zhizhi of the Dallas Mavericks and Mengke Bateer of the Denver Nuggets as the only Chinese players in the NBA.

NBA Star

In his six seasons in the NBA, Yao has made a huge impact so far. Yao was runner up for the Rookie of the Year award in the 2002-'03 season. He has made the All-Star team six times and the All-NBA Team four times in his career. For his career Yao has averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Yao and his co-superstar teammate Tracy McGrady, are one of the best two man combos in the league today. Although Yao has been a dominating presense, he has never made it out of the first round of the playoffs.

Did U Know?

  • Yao Ming is 7'6" tall and weighs 310 pounds.
  • Yao Ming is an only child.
  • Yao Ming has competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics as a member of the Chinese National Basketball Team.
  • Yao Ming has sponsorship deals with Reebok, Visa, Apple and McDonalds.
  • Yao Ming's jersey number is 11.
  • Yao Ming married Chinese women's basketball player Ye Li in 2007.
  • Yao Ming co-wrote his autobiography called "Yao: A Life in Two Worlds" after is rookie year.
  • After a massive earthquake hit China in 2008, Yao donated $2 million to go towards the relief effort.
  • Yao Says...

    "I can't find the words to explain how excited I am to be back in China, playing Olympics in my home country. That is a big, big chance for us. If you want to say one time in your life, this is the one time."

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