July 11, 2011

The end of the Yao Ming dynasty

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

The reported retirement of Houston Rockets superstar Yao Ming got me thinking about the massive man from China and how we’ll remember him.

Yao was plenty of things — unstoppable big man, pioneer for Chinese basketball, one of the few true centres in the league, let down by his body and better than we will probably remember — but the one thing that he was, in my opinion, is something even more incredible: The perfect video game NBA player.

Think about it: He was massive (7-foot-freaking-6, 310 pounds), strong in the post, could rebound and block shots, a good passer and solid shooter. Sure, that makes him a great real NBAer too, but virtual Yao had a huge advantage: His body couldn’t break down.

Sure, there are injuries in any realistic sports game, but they’re a lot less frequent than in real life. If you’ve played any FIFA game, you’d know that it’s nearly impossible to get injured and if you do, chances are it’s just a knock you can run off. In NBA games, you very, very rarely see guys go down with broken feet — Yao’s biggest weakness.

The perennial all-star (even though he was voted in every year thanks to a massive amount of overseas votes, he still deserved the honours) was simply just too big for his body to handle. Apparently supporting a person of such great size isn’t just a realistic task for a human’s legs and feet.

Alas, if only the real world were more like video games, then we could watch Yao Ming become one of the greatest centres in the history of the league. I guess we’ll just have to settle for

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