Houston Rockets announce they’ll retire Yao Ming jersey number 11 on February 2nd, 2017.
Yao Ming will become the seventh jersey to be hoisted up into the Toyota Center rafters. Ming’s number 11 jersey will join Yao’s No.11 will join five other players and one coach/GM jersey.
Feb 14, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; NBA former players from left Yao Ming , Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell are honored during a timeout in the first half of the NBA All Star Game at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
The players who have been previously retired are:
- Clyde Drexler – Jersey number 22
- Calvin Murphy – Jersey number 23
- Moses Malone – Jersey number 24
- Hakeem ‘the Dream’ Olajuwon- Jersey number 34
- Rudy Tomjanovich – Jersey number 45
Along with one numberless jersey of Carroll Dawson the former assistant coach and General Manager.
This news comes on the heels of Yao Ming’s Hall of Fame enshrinement. Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander made the announcement this week. Alexander attended the Springfield ceremony to support Yao’s induction along with a contingent of management and former players.
Selection of the date coincides with Chinese New Year and just so happens to also be the date a certain former player will be in town. Yes, Dwight Howard’s new team the Atlanta Hawks will be in Houston that night to play the Rockets.
Said Alexander the date of February 2nd was selected, so Ming could have the maximum audience possible. In addition, Alexander said Yao Ming has meant a lot to the growth of basketball globally.
In Ming’s induction speech at the Hall of Fame ceremony it was clear how close the former player is to his former coach, fans and the city of Houston. Specifically Ming referenced Rudy Tomjanovich’s “never under estimate the heart of a champion” inspirational quote. Yao also credited Van Gundy for the Rockets especially tough defensive squad and lovingly referred to the team as a brotherhood.citing Houston as his second home.
Furthermore Ming endearingly referred to H-Town’s fans as being loyal and welcoming. In addition Ming thanked the people of Houston for standing by him through the good and bad times and giving him strength to move forward. He further stated he will always consider you (Houston natives) as part of his family saying “I’m a Texan and a Houston Rocket for life“.
It’s not unusual to see Ming court side at Rockets games. Now Ming will be able to look aloft and smile at the sight of his number 11 to remind him and all Clutch City fans of his tenure in H-Town.
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Good friend and also a former Rockets player Dikembe Mutombo will also have his jersey retired by the Nuggets.