The Benevolent Giant: 5 Great Off-The-Court Yao Ming Moments
On the heels of global sensation and NBA star Yao Ming's well-timed retirement, we've gone ahead and compiled the top five off-the-court moments involving our favorite Chinese giant. If there was ever a professional athlete who we liked to watch awkwardly navigate the commercial side of sports, it was the 7-6 center for the Houston Rockets.
1. Yao Ming Gets Acquainted With New York Shopkeepers
In a Visa commercial that so accurately conveys what happens when cultures collide, Yao inquires about writing a check for some really tacky traditional NYC merchandise. Confusion ensues. Here, the 2002 No. 1 overall draft pick showcases the unassuming nature that endeared him to both basketball diehards and casual fans around the world.
2. Yao Ming Tries To Persuade NBA Friends To Eat Moving Food
Yao never seemed to have difficulty making friends upon his arrival in the United States, and in this commercial for T-Mobile, he co-stars alongside (well, kinda) fellow NBA affiliates Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley. We're just sorry that "Eat the head" never caught on as a viral catchphrase in the same vein as "taking my talents to" and "boom goes the dynamite."
3. Yao Ming Gets His Own Movie
The Year of the Yao - Theatrical Trailer
Get More: The Year of the Yao - Theatrical Trailer
And what better way to summarize the cultural phenomenon that is Yao Ming than by including the trailer for the 2004 documentary The Year of the Yao, which debuted in the U.S. in April 2005 to mixed reviews. Judging by the trailer (and the tagline) you might think it's your stereotypical Disney movie, but don't be deceived — New Line Cinema actually produced this one.
4. Yao Ming Tells Us We Should Stop Killing Sharks For Their Fins
Shark finning — it's not a cause you often hear thrown around by the celebrity do-gooders. But in this public service announcement for "WildAid," Yao Ming's one line is enough to make us actually care that we might be eating soup with shark fin in it. See, he's even a friend to the animals!
Goodbye, Yao. Your zingy one-liners will be missed.
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