NBA / Dec 17, 2010 / 2:45 pm

Yao upbeat after injury: “What were you expecting, a funeral?”

It was only natural to, upon hearing Yao Ming had received another grim medical report, begin writing obituaries for his basketball career.

Yao isn’t ready for that just yet.

“I haven’t died,” the Houston Rockets’ center was quoted by ESPN. “Right now I’m drinking a beer and eating fried chicken. What were you expecting, a funeral?”

After missing all of last season due to foot surgery, Yao came back this year on a limited-minutes diet. But after just five games (10.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg), an ankle injury has kept him out since Nov. 10, and this week it was discovered that he had a stress fracture in the ankle. His season is most likely. Many believe his career is over as well.

The Rockets are expected to announce their plans for Yao next week.

“Right now, I still hope I can come back and play,” Yao said.

As in the case of Greg Oden, I would hope Yao has enough perspective to make the right decision for his long-term health. If basketball is his passion and he gets cleared to play, he should.

But on the other hand, he is 30 years old with a wife and child at home and he has other avenues to pursue outside of playing in the NBA. Yao owns the Shanghai Sharks pro team in China, and certainly has enough money to chase whatever dreams he has outside of basketball. Yao should consider the case of Brad Daugherty, who had to retire from the NBA at 28 years old due to a bad back, and has since made a second career in NASCAR as a team owner and broadcaster. Brad knows he could have pushed and kept trying to play, but he’s happy now and still satisfying his competitive nature.

Yao is also a free agent after this season, so it may not even be his choice. If no team is willing to take a chance on him, he’ll find himself forced out of the NBA.

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  • dmitry of jersey

    best quote ever

  • mess

    Speaking of injuries, sounds like Okur is going to play limited minutes tonight. If he can get his game back soon, a rotation of him, big al and millsap could be quite the frontcourt.

  • http://dimemag.com Chicagorilla

    When i heard that Yao quote i lmao! Dude has always been funny. I can imagine what someone like Rasheed woulda said…”im at home blowing Cali Kush and drinking conyak.” Lmao. Gotta love the guys who go off the script

  • richyrich13

    You know as a Rockets’ fan, I can’t help but be sad to see what is most likely going to be the end of Yao’s career (at least as a Rocket). That being said, “Right now I’m drinking a beer and eating fried chicken.” is possibly one of the best post-injury quotes from a player haha.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Come back big fella, I’m sure Alexander will pay to bring you back. If he doesn’t, an NBA team should take a gamble on this true gentleman of the game.

    Yao must be back next year! C’mon Yao

  • jzsmoove

    Yao will be in the NBA for another 5 yrs. Book it.

  • superfreak

    damn these injuries can’t happen to nicer people in the league: yao, oden, okur

    sad to see yao go if this is his last run in the NBA, gotta give the man props for putting the NBA in the most populated country in the world

  • eRa

    Just came to think of it: The NBA made its first big international push ’92 with mj and the dream team. they gained millions of fans in europe and other parts of the world.
    They say bird/magic saved the L and mj took it to another level.
    But yao added like 2billion fans in a time when the league was strugglin’ mightily. could you make a case for yao havinging a larger impact on the game, economically, than mj,bird and magic?