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Yao Ming to retire?

The Houston Rockets center is reportedly retiring from the NBA.

According to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is set to retire from the NBA:

Yao Ming, one of the seminal figures in the globalization of the NBA, has decided to retire after nine injury-plagued seasons with the Houston Rockets, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Yao played just five games last season, and hasn’t been able to fully recover after having surgery in January to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. The veteran center informed the Rockets, the league office in New York and NBA China of his decision to leave the game within the past 48 hours, sources said.

The #1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Yao was a global icon for the game and one of the most dominant centers in the NBA -- when he played. As with many big men, the physical wear and tear of the game seemed to take its toll on his massive frame, and he battled nagging injuries for much of the past five years. (Fittingly, when browsing Getty Images for pictures to accompany this post, we noticed the majority were of Yao on the bench in street clothes.)

A collection of Yao highlights, below:

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