by phungalex
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Matt Doeden



Yao Ming was born on September 12, 1980 in Shanghai, China. Born to two basketball superstars, Yao was expected to shine in that sport as well. But Yao wasn't always the great player that he is today. In fact, during a friendly school shootout, Yao was asked by his gym instructor to take the first shot and he proudly stepped up. After the shot, Yao was extremely embarressed. The ball had barely hit the backboard. From that day forward, Yao was determined to become a better player.Yao started by practicing 10 hours a day. With that effort, he made the Shanghai Sharks Junior Team at age 13. At age 17, Yao was ready join the senior team. Over the next few years with the Sharks, Yao had very little success in the playoffs. It wasn't until his very last year that he won a CBA championship. Yao was ready for the big leagues now. Yao was ready for the NBA. Yao chose to go for NBA draft in 2002 and was very successful. He was the number one pick of the whole thing! But adjusting to the fast tempo of the NBA was difficult for him at first. Many people thought Yao was not very good and he did not deserve the number pick. Just look at him now. You tell me if he deserved it.

Yao Ming


Yao Ming wasn't always a dominant force on the basketball court. He wasn't always even that good. You could even say that Yao sucked back then. But you'd be smart not to say that now. Yao started playing basketball at age nine. He made the Shanghai Sharks junior team at 13 and eventually played for the senior team as well. After his first championship with the team, he already had more things in mind. He was already thinking about the NBA.

In 2002, Yao Ming participated in the NBA draft and was the number one overall pick. Since then, he has become one of the NBA's elite players. Starting in his sophmore season, Yao has been voted into the NBA All Star Game as a starter every year. In the 2008 season, Yao and the Rockets advanced to the second round of the playoffs. This was a feat that was not achieved since 1997. Although, Yao has been sidelined much of his career by leg injuries, he continues to get better every year, and we can only hope that he will have a long, healthy NBA career.

Steve Francis

When Yao Ming first entered the NBA, Steve Francis was excited. He would get to play with one of the best international players in the world! In fact, Steve was one of Yao's first friends in America. Off the court, they were buddies. On the court they were a dynamic duo averaging about 35 points and 15 rebounds a game in Yao's rookie season. Now, Francis finally had a dominant figure to play alongside with.

After two short years with Yao, which consisted of one playoff series and two NBA All Star Games, Steve Francis was traded to the Orlando Magic along with Cuttino Mobley and Kelvin Cato for Tracy Mcgrady, Juwan Howard, and Reece Gaines. Francis was unhappy with the trade, but still managed to start in the 2005 NBA All Star Game. Unfortunately, his career would only go downhill from that point.

Tracy Mcgrady

On June 29, 2004, a seven player deal was made between the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. Of those seven men was Tracy Mcgrady, two time back to back scoring champ. Mcgrady was excited to be in Houston and so was Yao. With Francis gone from the lineup, Mcgrady would have to fill the void. Yao was sad about Francis leaving, but was definetly happy about the arrival of Tracy Mcgrady.

With Mcgrady now in the lineup, there would be some instant offense. In his first year with the Rockets, Mcgrady averaged close to 26 points a game and they made it to the playoffs! But once again, Tracy Mcgrady was eliminated in the first round. He didn't hang his head for too long though. The next season he bounced back, but was sidelined by severe back spasm. His career, much like Francis', would steadily decline each season.



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