Just 90 minutes ago, I conducted a user interview with a director-level staff member at the Toyota Center in Houston. We chatted about the project and about average internet usage and all the things I was supposed to talk about. But I couldn’t help but slide one extra question in at the end.
ME: “So, do you think Yao Ming will ever play again?”
HIM: “On the record? Yeah, absolutely. Off the record … ”
All records aside, we have our answer. Just 30 minutes later, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Yao Ming, who hasn’t played a full season since his sophomore season, is officially retiring. And, as always, Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie sums it up the most elegantly.
A 77-game run in 2008-09 led to broken hearts amongst every basketball fan, as they watched him pull up lame on basic cable television on a Friday night, working as best he could to defeat the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. This is a game that was created for winter, to distract young men from cabin fever, and Yao’s run was as cold and cruel as those dreary New England months around the turn of the last century that created what we, in the heat of July of 2011, obsess over. Fairness had no say in the deal.
I hated how he’d be voted in as an All-Star starter every year on the strength of millions of Chinese votes, but I always respected his game.