I'm conflicted about this news. While it's a big thing that Yao Ming has announced his retirement, the Chinese big man has played in just five games over the past two seasons. Though he's been working and working to get back to the NBA, we might've assumed that Yao's time would be finished.
It's still a sad end to a player who was one of the best big men in franchise history. That's nothing to sneeze at, either, since the Rockets have had a pretty good run of quality big men, from Moses Malone and Ralph Sampson to Hakeem Olajuwon.
Yao could've been just as good, had his career not ended too soon because of foot problems. Of course, it also could be an inevitability that someone of his size would develop foot problems. Or, that once the initial foot problem happened, his career wasn't long for this league.
That's ultimately what happened, as the 7-footer just couldn't get up and down the court without the injury flaring up. In the end, I just hope that Yao's quality of life won't suffer from all those years playing for the Rockets. He provided some transcendent moments, even if he never quite had that signature moment, like McGrady's "Flurry of Points" against San Antonio. No, I'll remember him for how unexpectedly awesome it was when the Rockets won the lottery and the chance to draft him. I'll remember all those dunks where he didn't have to jump and the awkward translations or his attempts to fit into the hip-hop culture of the NBA.
Yao will be missed, but in a way, I think this announcement will let the Rockets move on.