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Yao Ming Retirement May Mark Permanent Loss of China Basketball Fans

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It ranks among the most sudden announcements of retirement from pro sports: Yao Ming is retiring, despite the fact he's just 30 years old and currently ranks one of the world's biggest professional basketball stars. It's a sudden loss, in what sports experts say may mark a permanent loss of Chinese basketball fans.

The Houston Rockets' Yao Ming hasn't yet formally announced his plan to retire but the NBA has: The Ming retirement announcement was made via the NBA's official website late July 8, 2011.

Yao Ming will turn 31 in September -- which means the pro basketball player will be retiring at a young age. But the athlete's been suffering from leg and foot injuries. Yao Ming was the number one Houston Rockets draft pick in 2002.

Aside from his playing ability, Yao Ming has accomplished a first through his involvement in the U.S. sports league: Ming is the first outstanding player from China -- and has become a national icon in the country, boosting the game of pro basketball and pushing the NBA's popularity throughout Asia.

Like Michael Jordan's impact on basketball has been described, Yao Ming's playing ability and performance has been described as irreplaceable and one-of-a-kind -- the man from China deemed a player who will never be duplicated.

But aside from the United States losing the pro basketball player, Yao Ming's loss from the NBA is expected to have a global impact. Without Yao Ming in the NBA, it's suspected the sport of basketball may permanently lose its China fans who may never return to the sport after Ming retires.

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It's official: Yao Ming

July 21, 2011 by editor, 7 years 48 weeks ago

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It's official: Yao Ming himself has made the announcement, July 20, of his retirement from the NBA