Yao Ming considers retirement if foot doesn't heal

Injury that cost him last season could end his career, he tells Chinese media. "It's what happens to every athlete"

Published July 27, 2010 10:28PM (EDT)

Yao Ming
Yao Ming

Sometimes a 7-foot body just isn't meant to run up and down a court for the 82 games of an NBA season. Houston Rockets center Yao Ming learned this lesson the hard way.

At a press conference to Chinese state media Monday, the 7-foot-6 Ming said he is considering retirement from basketball if his foot does not fully heal. The injury, which has plagued Ming on-and-off for the last three years and forced him to miss the entire 2009-10 season, seems to have made the former All-Star aware of his own body's fragility.

“I will quit the national team and the sport one day," Ming said. "It’s what happens to every athlete.”  Sullen words for a 29-year-old and someone who, despite the initial language barrier, has charmed the league and media the moment he landed in the states.

People forget how good he was, how he was touted as a possible rival for Shaquile O'Neal, the most dominant center at the time. And Ming lived up to expectations -- a behemoth who had no right to have such a gentle shooting touch or as fluid of footwork, all of which, for a small stretch, made him the best center in the league.  That is, before injuries derailed his progress and Orlando's Dwight Howard jumped onto the scene. But it's hard to argue against Matt Moore of CBS Sports, who acknowledges how good Ming was, but laments how good Ming could have been.

Is it possible Ming could regain his form?  Maybe.  Luckily, he will have more opportunity to rest now that the Rockets have acquired fellow 7-footer Brad Miller and it appears he will sit out the 2012 Olympics in London.  Let's just hope that's enough to push the day Ming quits basketball far into the future.

By Chris Le


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