Since injuries derailed and ended the career of 2002 #1 overall draft pick Yao Ming, the former Rocket has kept a rather low profile here in a America. Regardless if he’s no longer fueling debates about who the best center in basketball could/should/would be, Yao’s still making a huge – no pun intended – impact on the world off the court.
Yao has committed himself to the fight against elephant and rhinoceroses poachers in Africa with some of the breeds of the animals totaling less than 10 remaining in the world. He’s even become an honory Samburu warrior in the process with the name Lenasakalai, a legendary warrior who protected the Samburu people.
Yao’s philanthropy may not mean much to most here in America, possibly even spawning a joke here and there. Quite frankly, however, this type of initiative and the kind of guy Ming has always presented himself as, at least according to all the stories I’ve ever read about him. I commend Yao for doing something of this manner. Lord knows it beats the horror stories of many athletes who no longer have the spotlight on them.
Having noted that, what could’ve been for the T-Mac/Yao duo is always going to trouble me. Pending T-Ming stays healthy and productive during the mid-2000’s, who knows how much different the NBA landscape during that era would look. A dominant swingman and dominant center? Houston got a raw deal from the injury gods.*
* – Paging Ralph Sampson and those 1980’s Rockets squads…