July 27, 2010
'Twas less than a week ago that the Houston Rockets introduced Brad Miller(notes) and his camouflage shorts as the newest member of their team. We applauded the great fit, and not just because of the abundant hunting opportunities. Not only would Miller be playing in a system that values his skills — passing, perimeter shooting, other things that start with "P" — but he'd also be stepping into a low-pressure situation where he could excel in limited minutes. It was all good, baby bay-bay.
[Photos: Latest images of Yao Ming]
However, it turns out we might be seeing a lot more of Brad Miller in the next few years. Because not only is Yao Ming(notes) unsure about how he will perform this coming season, he's also contemplating ending his career if his foot doesn't heal right. From the Associated Press:
In comments to Chinese state media Monday, Yao sounded far from optimistic about his future and also made a rare criticism of China's national basketball program.
"If the foot injury does not heal next season, I might choose to call it quits," he said. [...]
Yao, who has been in China to promote some of his charity events, all but ruled out playing in the 2012 London Olympics.
"The chance is very small," the 7-6 center was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency. "The foot injury will not allow me to play so many games anymore. Like I said before, I will quit the national team and the sport one day. It's what happens to every athlete."
Leave it to Yao Ming to be completely OK with his impending basketball mortality even though it's five years too early. It seems like just yesterday that Yao was sporting the pinstriped Rockets uniforms made famous by Matt Maloney, and now he's all but telling us he's almost done with the NBA. Somebody grab me some tissues.
Of course, there is a chance that Yao's foot will be fine this season. Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes) went through a similar injury and surgery early in his career, and has played eight seasons since then. He was 23 when he broke his foot, which makes healing a lot easier than recovering from the same injury at 30.
I guess all we can do now is hope that Yao's foot turns out to be no big deal. Well, size 18 kicks are pretty large, but I meant "big" in a metaphorical sense. At the very least, the Rockets have the most enjoyable center ever signed for the next four years. It'd be tough to lose Yao, but those next three years would be filled with so many hearty laughs.