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  • Basketball Player Yao Ming elected to Hall of Fame

  • Eight-time NBA All-Star considered responsible for sport's growing popularity in China

, Photo: Reuters/Aly Song

30 of March 2016 17:48:19

Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming will be joining the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.The announcement will come this weekend in Houston during the Final Four when the 2016 class is unveiled.The 7-foot-6 Yao played nine seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets after starting his career in Shanghai in the Chinese Basketball Association. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.[caption id="attachment_9994" align="alignleft" width="300"]Former NBA player Yao Ming (R), a member of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, is seen during an interview in Beijing, China, in this picture taken March 9, 2016. REUTERS/China Daily ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.       TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY Former NBA player Yao Ming (R), is seen during an interview in Beijing, China. Photo: Reuters/China Daily [/caption]Foot and ankle injuries forced Yao to cut short his career in 2011, but he averaged 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game and was named to the NBA All-Star team eight times.Yao is considered responsible for basketball's growth and popularity in his native China. A game featuring Yao and the Rockets against Yi Jianlian and the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007 in China drew 200 million television viewers across the country in one of the most watched games in NBA history.Yao also played on China's team that won FIBA Asia Championships in 2001, 2003 and 2005.

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