The 7-foot 6-inch Yao Ming was drafted by the Houston Rockets as the first pick in the 2002 NBA draft. That season he was an All-Star and was on the league's All-Rookie team. Yao earned all-star honors in each of the following six seasons and helped the Rockets to playoff appearances in five of those years. Yao soon became the focus of the NBA's efforts to popularize the league around the globe. Yao retired from the NBA in 2011 after eight full seasons due to persistent injuries.
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