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Yao Ming relives basketball memories (2)

By MAY ZHOU (China Daily)    14:58, February 06, 2017

Yao Ming relives basketball memories

Yao Ming speaks to a cheering crowd at the ceremony to retire his No. 11 NBA basketball jersey on Friday night in Houston. [Photo by May Zhou/China Daily]

Yao said another of his memorable moments was when he first arrived in Houston as a Rockets player.

"I was taken aback when I saw this jersey with my name and number for the first time and realized it was the start of a special journey," Yao said.

Former Rockets star players Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Tracy McGrady and Shane Battier attended the ceremony.

Yao's wife, daughter and parents also joined him on the stage.

The ceremony was held during halftime of the Rockets-Chicago Bulls game. To commemorate the occasion, Rockets players wore jerseys with Chinese characters for the team name. Every game-goer got a No. 11 Yao Ming jersey as a souvenir.

When Yao took to the microphone, cheers erupted from the crowd along with shouts of, "Yao Ming, we love you!"

"I remember the first time I watched an NBA game, randomly saw a shot the cameras gave on those retired jerseys," Yao said. "I slowly realized over time that's the highest honor a player can achieve for themselves and for the team.

"I will always ask myself, `What is the story behind it?' I hope people see the jersey there and remember the story," he said. "Not just myself, but my teammates, my opponents; we put a story together."

"Thank you for your humility," Battier said as he saluted Yao on behalf of all Rockets players. "Thank you for your work ethic. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for your dominance. You are a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word. Thank you for allowing all of us to be a part of your journey."

Walter Hollows, an IT engineer and season ticket-holder for 25 years, said he watched Yao play from the day he arrived in Houston.

"Yao was the greatest player we had here behind Hakeem Olajuwon. I watched his ups and downs. I watched him first dominated by Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal] then he dominated Shaq. I am very happy and proud to be here for his jersey retirement," Hollows said.

Tiffany Wang in Houston contributed to this story.


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(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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