Ming Yao


Personal information

Date of birth: September 12, 1980
Place of birth: Shanghai, China
Nationality: Chinese
Listed height: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Listed weight: 310 lb (141 kg)

Career information

NBA Draft 2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Selected by the Houston Rockets
Pro career 1997–present

Career history 

Shanghai Sharks (1997–2002)
Houston Rockets (2002–present)

Career highlights and awards

7×NBA All-Star (2003–2009)
2×All-NBA Second Team (2007, 2009)
3×All-NBA Third Team (2004, 2006, 2008)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (2003)
3×IBA Asian Championship MVP (2001, 2003, 2005)

Public life

Yao is one of China's most recognizable athletes, along with Liu Xiang. He has led Forbes' Chinese celebrities list in income and popularity for six straight years, earning 51 million U.S. dollars (357 million yuan) in 2008. A major part of his income comes from his sponsorship deals, as he is under contract with several major companies to endorse their products. He was signed by Nike until the end of his rookie season; when they decided not to renew his contract, he signed with Reebok. He also had a deal with Pepsi, and he successfully sued Coca-Cola in 2003 when they used his image on their bottles while promoting the national team. However, he has since signed with Coca-Cola for the 2008 Olympics. His other deals include partnerships with Visa, Apple, Garmin, and McDonald's.

Yao has also participated in many charity events during his career, including the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. In the NBA's offseason in 2003, Yao hosted a telethon, which raised 300,000 U.S. dollars to help stop the spread of SARS. In September 2007, he held an auction that raised 965,000 U.S. dollars (6.75 million yuan), and competed in a charity basketball match to raise money for underprivileged children in China. He was joined by fellow NBA stars Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, and Baron Davis, and movie star Jackie Chan. After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Yao donated $2 million to relief work, and created a foundation to help rebuild schools destroyed in the earthquake.

On July 16, 2009, Yao bought his former club team the Shanghai Sharks, which was on the verge of not being able to play the next season of the Chinese Basketball Association due to financial troubles.

2This is a Chinese name; the family name is Yao (姚). Yao Ming (Chinese: 姚明; pinyin: Yáo Míng; born September 12, 1980) is a professional basketball player who plays for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently the tallest player in the NBA, at 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in).

Yao, who was born in Shanghai, started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager, and played on their senior team for five years in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), winning a championship in his final year. He entered the 2002 NBA Draft, and after negotiating with the CBA and the Sharks to secure his release, was selected by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick of the draft. He has since been selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game in each of his first seven seasons, and has been named to the All-NBA Team five times. However, the Rockets have advanced past the first round of the playoffs only once since he joined the team, and he has missed significant time due to injury in each of the past five seasons.

3Yao is married to Ye Li, a former player for the China women's national basketball team. He is one of China's best-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies, and he has been the richest celebrity in China for six straight years. His rookie year in the NBA was the subject of a documentary film, The Year of the Yao, and he co-wrote, along with NBA analyst Ric Bucher, an autobiography titled Yao: A Life in Two Worlds.

International career

42000 and 2004 Olympics

Yao first played for China in the Summer Olympics at the 2000 Olympics Basketball Tournament, and he was dubbed, together with 7-foot teammates Wang Zhizhi and Mengke Bateer, "The Walking Great Wall".During the 2004 Athens Olympics, Yao carried the Chinese flag during the opening ceremony, which he said was a “long dream come true”.He then vowed to abstain from shaving his beard for half a year unless the Chinese national basketball team made it into the quarter-finals of the 2004 Olympics Basketball Tournament. After Yao scored 39 points in a win against New Zealand, China lost 58–83, 57–82, and 52–89 against Spain, Argentina and Italy respectively. In the final group game, however, a 67–66 win over the reigning 2002 FIBA World Champions Serbia and Montenegro moved them into the quarterfinals. Yao scored 27 points and had 13 rebounds, and he hit two free throws with 28 seconds left that proved to be the winning margin.He was selected to the All-Olympics team with his performance, averaging 20.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting 55.9% from the field.

Asian Championships

Yao led the Chinese national team to 3 consecutive FIBA Asian Championship gold medals, winning the 2001 FIBA Asian Championship, the 2003 FIBA Asian Championship, and the 2005 FIBA Asian Championship. He was also named the MVP of all three tournaments.

2006 World Championships

5Yao's injury at the end of the 2005–06 NBA season required a full six months of rest, threatening his participation in the2006 FIBA World Championship. However, he recovered before the start of the tournament, and in the last game of the preliminary round, he had 36 points and 10 rebounds in a win against Slovenia to lead China into the Round of 16. In the first knockout round, however, China was defeated by eventual finalist Greece. Yao's final averages were 25.3 points, the most in the tournament, and 9.0 rebounds a game, which was fourth overall.

2008 Olympics

After having surgery to repair his fractured foot, Yao said that if he could not play in the Olympics, "It would be the biggest loss in my career to right now". However, he returned to play with the Chinese national team on July 17, 2008. On August 6, Yao carried the Olympic Flame into Tiananmen Square, as part of the Olympic torch relay. He also carried the Chinese flag and led his country's delegation during the opening ceremony. After China opened with a 101-70 loss to the United States, and an overtime defeat to Spain, Yao scored 30 points in a win over Angola, and 25 points in a three-point win against Germany, which clinched China's place in the quarterfinals. However, China lost to Lithuania in the quarterfinals by 26 points, eliminating them from the tournament. Yao's 19 points a game were the second-highest in the Olympics, and his averages of 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game were third overall.

Career statistics
GP Games played GS Games started MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
CBA statistics
1997–98 Shanghai 21 8.3 1.3 0.615 0.485 10
1998–99 Shanghai 12 12.9 1.7 0.585 0.699 20.9
1999–00 Shanghai 33 14.5 1.7 0.585 0.683 21.2
2000–01 Shanghai 22 19.4 2.2 0.679 0.799 27.1
2001–02 Shanghai 24 19 1.9 0.721 0.759 32.4
Career 122 15.4 1.8 0.651 0.723 23.4
NBA statistics Regular Season
2002–03 Houston 82 72 29 0.498 0.5 0.811 8.2 1.7 0.4 1.8 13.5
2003–04 Houston 82 82 32.8 0.522 0 0.809 9 1.5 0.3 1.9 17.5
2004–05 Houston 80 80 30.6 0.552 0 0.783 8.4 0.8 0.4 2 18.3
2005–06 Houston 57 57 34.2 0.519 0 0.853 10.2 1.5 0.5 1.6 22.3
2006–07 Houston 48 48 33.8 0.516 0 0.862 9.4 2 0.3 2 25
2007–08 Houston 55 55 37.2 0.507 0 0.85 10.8 2.3 0.4 2 22
2008–09 Houston 77 77 33.6 0.548 1 0.866 9.9 1.8 0.4 2 19.7
Career 481 471 32.7 0.525 0.2 0.832 9.3 1.6 0.4 1.9 19.1
All-Star 5 5 18.2 0.529 0 0.667 4.2 1.6 0.2 0.2 8
2003–04 Houston 5 5 37 0.456 0 0.765 7.4 1.8 0.4 1.4 15
2004–05 Houston 7 7 31.4 0.655 0 0.727 7.7 0.7 0.3 2.7 21.4
2006–07 Houston 7 7 37.1 0.44 0 0.88 10.3 0.9 0.1 0.7 25.1
2008–09 Houston 9 9 35.9 0.545 0 0.902 10.9 1 0.4 1.1 17.1
Career 28 28 35.3 0.519 0 0.833 9.3 1 0.3 1.5 19.8