9. Yao Ming
Country of origin: China
Career years: 2002-2011
Career stats: 486 G, 19.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.9 BPG
Accolades: 8x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 3x All-NBA Third Team, 2003 NBA All-Rookie First Team
It was with great fanfare that 7'6" Chinese center Yao Ming arrived in the United States in 2002. After a stellar, dominant career with the Shanghai Sharks from 1997 until 2002, the then-22-year-old finally convinced his team to allow him to play on the highest level and make the jump to the NBA. His talent on the court and immense popularity off it led him to be named an All-Star all but one season of his NBA career, despite the fact that he missed 250 games with injury in the last six years of his career alone. A great ambassador for the game, Yao will forever be remembered as a huge reason for basketball's explosion in popularity in Asia.