Yao Ming celebrates his 34th birthday today, and what better way to honor the best Chinese player to grace the NBA then by watching some of the plays that defined his career.
Standing at a staggering 7' 6", Yao was one of the tallest players to ever play in the NBA behind Gheorghe Muresan, Mante Bol and Shawn Bradley. His height was just part of what made Yao special, as he encompassed all the skills you looking for from a franchise center and then come. Yao's ability to guard the rim, play defense, and uncanny finesse around the basket made him a force in the NBA, but his career was cut short due to injury.
His impact in the league will never diminish, as he was the ambassador for spreading basketball throughout China and other Asian countries. David Stern went on to say Yao was "the bridge between Chinese and American fans", and it shows, as the NBA is constantly making efforts to run events in China, the most recent being Nike's House of Mamba. To honor this true legend of the game on his birthday, sit back and enjoy the top 5 moments from Yao's career.
Yao Gives King James His Best Dikembe Impersonation
Sorry Bron, even you can't dunk over someone who's 7' 6". Let's just leave that to Vince Carter.
Even at 7' 6", Yao's Got the Handle
Everyone knew Yao had all the skills to make him great, but what set him apart from other big men was his fluid dribbling ability. This isn't the only time he spun someone around, but it was the first and it caught the attention of everyone.
The Big Fella Splashes Home the First 3-Pointer of His Career
It's almost not fair to have a guy that tall who can shoot with the range Yao can. Although he only made 10 total in his career, just the fact that he can step out and knock down 18-foot jumpers made him unguardable.
Yao Puts LeBron on the Receving End of a Poster
It's not often we see LeBron on the bad side of a dunk but it happened. What'd you think Bron? He's almost a full foot taller then you homie.
Yao Hangs a Career High 41-Points on the Hawks
Sure it was a triple overtime game, but the most impressive part of Yao's performance came in the closing seconds when he drained a fall away jump shot to give the Rockets the lead. Might we add he was double teamed. Clutch factor on full display.