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 BigWhen 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 StepsWhile 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 StarIn 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
Did U Know?
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."