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Old 08-10-2011, 05:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Yao to be nominated for the Hall of Fame next year?


Now the debate about Yao Ming’s Hall of Fame credentials can begin in earnest.

Scott Howard-Cooper reports here that Chinese officials are going to nominate Yao as a “contributor” to the Hall as early as next year, bypassing the five-year waiting period for retired players.

Now, the “contributor” description is rather nebulous but I can’t think of a guy in the last decade who’s advanced the cause of basketball more globally than Yao. Yes, they played before in China – heck, Yao wasn’t even the first Chinese player in the NBA – but the boom the game experienced thanks solely to his stature cannot be understated.

No, it hasn’t translated into a flood of NBA-calibre, or even EuroLeague-calibre kids emerging from that country and I’m not sure it ever will.

But the game is the thing, for kids on playgrounds, old guys in gyms, people sitting and watching in the stands and Yao’s ascension to the top of the game did amazing things in China.

The way he handled it, as I said way back when news of his retirement first broke, was amazing. He did it with grace and style and class and that’s what Hall of Famers do.

You can debate the merits of his on-court career and where they put him in the Hall of Fame discussion – they probably don’t make him a selection – but for what he did for the game? No question.

Hope he gets in on the first ballot
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