A Classy Goodbye: Rockets Organization Publishes Farewell Letters To Yao Ming
July 31 / Ben Axelrod / SportsGrid
For the better part of the past decade, Yao Ming has been the undisputed face of the Houston Rockets franchise, and while his retirement last month may have seemed abrupt, that didn't stop the only team he played for in the NBA from giving him a proper sendoff.
On their official website, the Rockets have published several goodbye letters from members of the front office organization, including owner Leslie Alexander and GM Daryl Morey, whose farewell you can read below.
I’d like to start by thanking you for being big, being a center and being an All-Star. Coincidentally, those just so happen to be the three things the Rockets are missing the most right now. In other words, we need another you. Trouble is, there’s never been anyone quite like you. And odds are there never will be.
Everybody always talks about your unselfishness and commitment to the team – those aspects of your character could never be overstated. When you got hurt in our second round series against the Lakers in 2009, you only ever seemed interested in everyone else. You were crushed because you felt like you let your teammates, Mr. Alexander and me down – which couldn’t be further from the truth, by the way – all the while never once expressing any concern with your own personal and physical well being. But to me, that attitude and approach summed you up: some people talk team; you lived it.
Going forward, please know that even though you won’t be on the court, I consider it my job to keep the culture you built intact. You led this team with your hard work, your humility and your humor, and those three things really define the culture you created here in Houston. You helped build something truly special, and it’s of paramount importance to me to preserve that approach to ensure your legacy lives on.
Houston Rockets – General Manager
Morey's letter seems to reflect the general spirit of the rest of the letters to Yao, which thank him for his contributions to the team and city of Houston, both on and off-the-court. You can read the rest of the letters, which includes goodbyes from the Rockets' Vice-President of Basketball Operations, Director of Media Relations, Director of Community Relations, an assistant coach, and even an equipment manager, at Rockets.com.