The second giant is now gone. Just a short time after hearing Shaquille O’Neal call it quits, Yao Ming is joining him on the sidelines after multiple injuries with his legs and feet (stress fracture in his foot and tendon strain in his left leg) that never healed. It’s a sad day for everyone involved in the game. Most of this generation isn’t used to seeing athletes’ bodies fail them at an early age (Yao is still only 30 and was 28 before going down for good). But that’s what happens when you’re 7-6 and carrying well over 300. Yao was truly one of the good guys. Hell, even Shaq loved him, and Shaq didn’t love any of his competitors … Do you think Yao will eventually be voted into Springfield? Trust us. Even though he never made it past the second round, even though he never came close to winning an MVP, even though he really only played seven years, the basketball Hall of Fame is known for being lenient when it comes to situations like this. Yao is probably the most influential and important international player EVER, so that almost guarantees him a spot. We would bet A LOT of money that he eventually makes the Hall of Fame … So how are other NBA players reacting to the news that Deron Williams might play overseas? Most of them, including Amar’e Stoudemire, say the move is one of the last things on their mind. Yes, most are more concerned with just getting the lockout ended. But even still, there are many who don’t feel the need, or want to play overseas. Although, if this lockout does drag into the fall, you might see some guys start to change their minds (by that point, it could be too late) … After the one-year anniversary of the Decision, check out LeBron‘s highs and lows from this season on South Beach … Another day, another two guys get knocked out in our one-on-one NBA Tournament. Even though Jay Bilas went with Chris Paul, Carmelo grabbed 70% of the vote to advance, where he will face off with the reigning Finals MVP, Dirk Nowitzki, who somehow earned nearly 80% of the votes to beat Manu Ginobili … Every year, the NBA Development League moves closer to becoming it’s own version of an actual minor league system. The NBA recently announced plans for next year and it looks like a record nine NBA teams will have their very own D-League squads. That’s more than twice as many as last year … And who said Kobe couldn’t jump anymore? During the 2011 Kobe Basketball Academy, someone caught him on tape putting down one of the easiest 360 dunks we’ve seen … Indiana continued their “We’re doing a number on everyone, but no one is noticing because we are the Pacers” summer by apparently hiring Kevin Pritchard to be their director of player personnel. Pritchard is known around the league as having one of the best minds in basketball, and it’s still amazing how Portland let him slip through their fingers (no matter who didn’t get along, with someone that talented, you work through it). Indiana’s future – with all of that young talent on the roster and with some flexibility in the cap – is finally starting to turn the corner … The Reebok Breakout Challenge is going down, the same camp that John Wall once blew up at, and there have been a few players who’ve stood out amongst the crowd. Kedar Edwards, a 6-5 rising senior out of West Oaks Academy in Orlando, has been dominant all week, as has the 6-8 Kamari Murphy, who is from Lincoln High School in New York City. While those two have been killing it, rising-junior Tony Bagtas from Union City, Georgia dropped 34 points in one game, the highest total so far … And it looks like Udonis Haslem finally got rid of his braids … We’re out like Yao.
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