Although Yao Ming's NBA career was shortened by injuries, he left his mark on the game. The legendary Houston Rockets center played a total of nine seasons, although he missed the entire 2009-10 season due to a broken foot.
All told, Yao amassed eight All-Star teams, five All-NBA teams, three FIBA Asia Cup gold medals, and three FIBA Asia Cup MVP awards, en route to making the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April of 2016. Yao holds career averages of 19 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, 1.6 assists, 52.4 percent from the field, and 83.3 percent from the charity stripe.
Yao's legacy is cemented as one of the greatest international big men to ever play the game. He was the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft and lived up to the expectations that come with being selected that high, which isn't easy to do.
Just ask fellow Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady.
“[He was] highly skilled, I’m talking about, could dribble the ball, could make the right passes, not just you know, making a pass anywhere, passing on target for where you could get in your shot. He sees the floor well. Left hand, right hand, he shot 80-plus percent from the da– foul line. He had it, bro, he had it. He was highly skilled. One of the, probably the most skilled big men I could remember.”
At 7-foot-6, Yao had unprecedented touch and a turnaround jumper that was merely unstoppable. But you wouldn't think any of this if you had heard Kevin Garnett on his signature KG Certified podcast with Paul Pierce, presented by Showtime.
Rockets' Yao Ming gets disrespected by NBA legend Kevin Garnett
Garnett was showering San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama with praise and couldn't resist the urge to tear down other generational big men that have played before Wembanyama.
"Bro, that ain't 7'6 movement. Man, Yao Ming was moving like a big a- oak tree when he moved. Shaq was roving through, man, big mfers who are 7'1, bro, walking through like a oak tree. Bumping into sh-t."
This is surprising, coming from Garnett, who saw first-hand how dominant Yao was. The two faced off against each other 18 times, and Yao averaged 18.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.3 blocks, while taking 9 of the games.
Garnett, by comparison, averaged 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.8 blocks. Essentially, both were just as dominant went they squared off against one another.
Garnett also previously mentioned how Team USA desperately wanted to dunk on Yao, so much that they put a $1 million bounty on whoever accomplished the feat first, but were unable to successfully pull it off, due to Yao's dominance.
"First of all, people didn’t know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming. The whole USA team had a bet. We had a million dollar bet on who was going to be the first person to dunk on Yao Ming. None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss."
It's also a little too early to compare Wemby to some of the league's greats, because the sample size is simply too small right now. Lastly, and perhaps the most important thing to note, is that it's entirely possible to give someone their flowers without tearing down others that came through before them.
KG should know better.