Yao Ming — the former No. 1 overall pick of the Houston Rockets who for several years was the best center in the game and who helped globalize the NBA by making it the most popular American sport in China — made his retirement official in a ceremony Wednesday in China.
Ongoing foot problems — his left foot was fractured three times and never healed properly — forced him into this decision. NBA TV broadcast Yao’s retirement ceremony from China back to the United States. He started by speaking in Chinese (the broadcast had a translator).
“”Today I need to make a personal decision as a basketball player. I will stop my basketball career and I will formally retire.”
He then went on to thank a number of people and to thank the game of basketball itself for all it had given him. He then switched to English to give a message to his “friends overseas,” particularly Rockets fans.
“I would like to thank you for giving me a great nine years during my NBA career. Nine years ago I come to Houston as a young, tall, skinny player. The entire city and team changed me into a grown man. Not only a basketball player. And also I had my first daughter over there. I feel like a Houstonian and I will always be with you.”
Yao said that this “would be a comma, not a period” and that he would still be involved in basketball. That starts by working with the Shanghai Sharks, the Chinese team he played with before coming to the NBA.
Someday, don’t be shocked if big men from around the world flock to talk to him as a guru, the way they do now with another former Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon. Yao has the mind to be a great basketball coach. He was a great basketball player, just one whose body betrayed him before we got to see enough of him.
With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.
Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.
Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.
Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.
T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.
Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.
Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.
The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.
Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.
Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.
While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.
Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).