Chinese Language Blog

再见, 姚明!(Yao Ming’s NBA Retirement) Posted by on Jul 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Father time is undefeated. Just ask Yao Ming’s legs, knees, feet and ankles. After two injury-plagued seasons in which the Chinese All-star Center played only 5 games, and underwent multiple leg and foot surgeries, Yao Ming (姚明) is finally calling it quits, and is reportedly retiring from the NBA. We will miss you, Yao, especially in the mainland.

While his status as a Hall-Of-Famer remains up in the air (we aren’t talking about the other recently retired 7 footer with more nicknames than P-Diddy ), his legacy on the sport will be a lasting one. This, in part, is due to his role as the only Chinese superstar basketball player to have great success in the NBA. In China, Yao IS basketball.

Chinese people absolutely LOVE the gawky giant and see him as a national treasure, bringing pride to a nation averaging 5 foot 4. CCTV9 (China’s sports Channel) often shows Houston Rockets games, even the past two years when Yao Ming was sidelined. For the past two years, Yao Ming has received a record number of All-Star votes from mainland China, when unable to play. In America, people mistook this fervor as ignorance. But, when I asked Chinese fans why they’d vote for someone who can’t play, almost every response was “because he’s the best”.  Talk about towing a party line.

While Chinese basketball (CBA or 中国男子篮球职业联赛) is still budding in the mainland,  the NBA is watched with fervor and excitement. Well, that was until Yao announced his NBA retirement.

With the NBA lockout an almost certainty, and Yao fading off into the distance, many are worried about the impact Yao’s retirement will have on Chinese NBA viewership and the popularity of the sport in general. China’s online web community (called netizens) overwhelmingly feel that the NBA has lost its appeal without a Chinese superstar repping the mainland (I will admit, he was a monster in the early 2000s).

While this nationalistic sentiment borders on the absurd, many feel that China needs another superstar basketball player that young Chinese players can look up to as a role model. Yi Jianlian is unfortunately not that player, so China get going on another government issued superstar. I bet you could have a Chinese “Rondo” in a couple of years. Hell just get someone so Charles Barkley will lose another bet and have to kiss the ass of a donkey again:

In the meantime, thanks for bringing basketball to the mainland, Yao Ming. Your presence on the court (and sidelines) will be sorely missed. Hopefully Chinese fans will continue to watch the NBA (that is if the lockout is ever lifted). 再见, 姚明!

Follow Steve on twitter: @seeitbelieveit

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About the Author: Stephen

Writer and blogger for all things China related. Follow me on twitter: @seeitbelieveit -- My Background: Fluent Mandarin speaker with 3+ years working, living, studying and teaching throughout the mainland. Student of Kung Fu and avid photographer and documentarian.


  1. Steven C. Poling Jr.:


  2. Emmett Bio:

    I love your site! This article in particular caught my eye. Great writing! Thnx!

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