Yao Ming Biography

Yao Ming is a retired Chinese basketball player who played for Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Yao Ming
Quick Facts

Birthday: September 12, 1980

Nationality: Chinese

Famous: Basketball Players Chinese Men

Age: 39 Years, 39 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Virgo

Born in: Shanghai, China

Famous as: Basketball Player

Height: 2.29 m


Spouse/Ex-: Ye Li (m. 2007)

father: Yao Zhiyuan

mother: Fang Fengdi

City: Shanghai, China

More Facts

awards: 2003 - Rookie of the Year
2003 - Laureus Newcomer of the Year

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Yao Ming is a retired Chinese basketball player who played for Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). The seven feet, five inches tall player is the only non-US player to lead NBA in All-Star voting. NBA commissioner David Stern had described him as "a wonderful mixture of talent, dedication, humanitarian aspirations and a sense of humor."He was voted to start for the Western Conference in NBA All-Star Game for at least eight times, and on five occasions he was named to the All-NBA Team. He played for China in the 2000 Summer Olympics. He also led his country’s national team to three consecutive FIBA Asian Championship gold medals. He played in the 2008 Summer Olympics, and scored the first basket of the game against the US. For six consecutive years, he was on top of the Forbes' Chinese celebrities list in income and popularity. In 2011, he retired from professional basketball due to a series of injuries, which had forced him to miss 250 games in his career.

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Yao Ming
  • Yao Ming was born on September 12, 1980, in Shanghai, China, to Fang Fengdi (mother) and Yao Zhiyuan (father). His father, six feet, ten inches tall, played basketball for a local Shanghai team. His mother, six feet, two inches tall, played for the Chinese national team in the 1970s.
  • He was quite big at birth, and weighed ten pounds. As a child he grew quite fast, and his parents found it difficult to provide him enough food to satisfy his increasing appetite. When he was nine, he was already five feet, seven inches tall, and began playing basketball. At that time, he gained attention from the local sports officials who guided him to join a sports school in Shanghai.
  • Initially, he was not interested in either basketball or any other sport. He was an avid reader, and liked to read books about military history, and knew details about ancient battles of China.
  • When he was in the ninth grade, he was already more than six feet tall. In the same year, he signed a contract with Shanghai youth team, and when he was 17, he became Shanghai Sharks' star player.
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  • Yao Ming played for the Shanghai Sharks junior team of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for four years. Then, he joined the senior team of the Sharks, and scored 10 points and 8 rebounds per game during his rookie season. In his third season, the Sharks made it to the finals of CBA, but lost to Bayi Rockets.
  • In the following year, the Sharks won their first CBA championship. During the playoffs in his final year with the Sharks, he scored 38.9 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, and made 21 shots in one game in the finals.
  • He decided to enter the NBA draft in 2002. A group of advisers was formed called ‘Team Yao’, which included his negotiator, NBA agent, Chinese agent, and others. CBA was initially hesitant to let Yao play in the US; it was only on the morning of the NBA draft that CBA gave him permission to play in the US, making him the first international player to be selected without having played in the US college basketball. He was picked by Houston Rockets.
  • He played for China in the 2002 FIBA World Championships. He played his first NBA game against Indiana Pacers, but did not score points. He scored his first NBA basket against Denver Nuggets. In his first seven games, he scored 14 minutes and 4 points, but on the November 17 game against the Lakers, he scored 20 points on a 9-of-9 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line.
  • Yao was voted to start for the West over O'Neal, making him the first rookie to start the All-Star Game since Grant Hill in 1995. He finished his rookie season scoring 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
  • In 2004, he had a career-high of 41 points and 7 assists in a triple-overtime win against the Atlanta Hawks. In the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, he finished the season at 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
  • In 2005 NBA All-Star Game, Yao broke the record held by Michael Jordan, with 2,558,278 votes. The Rockets won 51 games, and won the fifth position in the West. Next, in Dallas, the Rockets won the first two games, and he made 13 of the 14 shots in the second game; it was the best shooting performance in Rockets’ history.
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  • Despite missing 21 games due to a surgery, he again had the most fan votes to start the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. In his fifth season, he averaged a career-high of 25 points per game.
  • In November 2007, he played against Milwaukee Bucks player Yi Jianlian for the first time, and the Rockets won 104–88. In the 2008 NBA All-Star Game, the Rockets won 12 games. In the 2008 Summer Olympics at Beijing, the Rockets won 22 games.
  • In July 2011, he retired from basketball due to his repeated injuries. He was nominated for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, but since he felt it was too early, his request to delay it was considered. The Hall of Fame was eventually granted in September 2016. The Rockets also retired his No. 11 jersey.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 2002, Yao Ming won FIBA World Championship. He was the gold medal winner with Team China at 2001, 2003 and 2005 FIBA Asian Championship. He also won NBA All-Star credit eight times. In 2016, he received the ultimate honor: he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • During his career, a major part of Yao Ming’s income came from sponsorship deals, as he endorsed for major companies like Nike, Reebok, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi. He had sued Coca-Cola in 2003 for using his image on their bottles when the company was promoting the national team; he won the case.
  • In 2004, he co-wrote the autobiography ‘Yao: A Life in Two Worlds.’ In the same year, a documentary film—The Year of the Yao’—was made, which focuses on his NBA rookie year. In 2005, former ‘Newsweek’ writer Brook Larmer published a book ‘Operation Yao Ming’.
  • He has participated in many charity events—he once organized an auction and raised US$ 965,000 for underprivileged children in China. He donated $2 million for relief work after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and developed a foundation to rebuild schools destroyed in the quake.
  • Yao dated basketball player Ye Li, and married her on August 6, 2007. Their daughter Yao Qinlei was born on May 21, 2010.
  • In 2009, he bought the Shanghai Sharks, which was not been able to play in the CBA due to financial crunches.
  • He is also a dedicated supporter of Special Olympics, and serves as Global Ambassador and member of the International Board of Directors.
  • He joined Antai College of Economics & Management of Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2011, and is taking a tailored degree program with mostly one-on-one lectures.
  • In 2012, he filmed a documentary on the white rhinoceros. He also serves as an ambassador for elephant conservation.

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Article Title
- Yao Ming Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- August 09, 2017

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