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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: July 21, 2011
Yao Ming's Legacy on Basketball


Yao Ming's retirement is not just a loss for his team -- the Houston Rockets -- but for the entire NBA. He was the perfect bridge between China and the league. He was the perfect ambassador for a league trying to establish roots in the world's most populous nation. And he also provided hope to millions of Chinese hoops fans that being an NBA player was not just a dream.

This is the vision of Yao Ming that most of us will remember. Tall and athletic, one of the game's best players.

But this is not the court where his legacy will be felt -- it will be here at the grassroots of Chinese basketball.

"I want to learn the spirit of never giving up. When Yao Ming first arrived in the NBA, no one knew if he would make it. But with his best effort and his spirit of never giving up, he achieved great results. I want to learn from him in this aspect," said Wang Tong.

Xu Jicheng, is a basketball commentator in China and believes, Yao's basketball achievement has historical significance beyond the sport.

"I think Yao Ming built a bridge between the two cultures," Xu said. "Some NBA players, including Shaq, at first felt Yao would be a threat and a challenge to him but later they became very good friends. I think the greatest contribution for the history is beyond basketball and beyond sports. It is he who established a bridge between the cultures of China and the West."

If not for Yao, 10 years ago, a star like Kevin Durant would never have ventured overseas to promote the game of basketball with another Chinese player like Yi Jianlian.

"Yao never reached his peak or the glorious summit of his career that he was supposed to. This is a regret that he can never make up as far as himself is concerned. But I think the impact of his retirement is bigger on the Chinese basketball rather on himself as a person," said Jin Can.

And his impact on the basketball court will be felt in China for years to come.

(CNTV.cn July 20, 2011)


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