Before the arrival of Stephen Curry in the NBA and his impact on the game with his three-point shooting ability, the game of basketball was played in a different way. Usually, the most dominant players in the league used to be big men, and they'd tear through defenses by scoring most of their points in the paint.
One of the best big men to ever play in the league remains the Chinese international Yao Ming. Ming was drafted using the first overall pick by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA Draft.
Yao had a towering height of 7'6" and made an instant impact on the Rockets. Although he never won an NBA Championship or many accolades for that matter, he is a Hall of Famer. But he remains one of the only five players in NBA history to become All-Star in every single season that they played in.
The biggest reason for his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame was the fact that he was the first Asian superstar in the NBA. His presence in the NBA helped the league become popular in China. However, due to recurring injury issues, Ming retired at the age of 30 with just eight seasons under his belt.
Yao Ming Was Already Dominant Before Entering The NBA
Regardless of not winning any major accolades, Ming was dominant and put his height to the best use. Filipino star Asi Taulava once shared a story about Ming's skills when the two players faced off against each other in the Asian Games.
I made my first shot. I was screaming at Yao. And I took seven shots in that game and the next six shots I took, it was a volleyball game. Yao spiked (it all). I looked at coach Jong and I was like, ‘Timeout, timeout, get me out of the game, this is so embarrassing.” I think we lost by 40, 50 points. He was so motivated to play the Philippines at that time. He spiked my next six shots. I had no choice but to stand around and watch him.
Hands down the best Asian player ever will be Yao Ming. People have this like Michael Jordan and how they try to say who is the best player. Some say Hadadi, some other players. But for me, by a landslide, it would be Yao. It showed when he got to the NBA. He wasn’t just good in Asia. He went to the NBA and he was an All-Star. He was a superstar there and even globally."
As mentioned by Taulava, his team was drafted by a margin of 41 points by Yao Ming and China.
At the time, it was the battle between the two best Asian centers, and Ming came out on top pretty convincingly. He even earned the respect of Taulava as he was labeled as the best Asian player by his former rival.