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Yao Ming Rage FaceFans of Internet memes may have noticed a resemblance between Yao Ming and a certain character who pops up on message boards, forums and sites like Reddit and 4Chan.
To the left is the original photo of Yao. Below is his cartoon incarnation. This face is often used in so-called "rage comics" and other humorous images to depict a cavalier, utterly disinterested manner. Hence, the face is often known as the "F**k That Guy," and it is rarely referenced that the original image is based on Yao at all.
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Yao Ming Carries Olympic TorchNot only did Yao get to appear in a Coca Cola commercial holding the Olympic torch, but he actually got to carry the Olympic torch to help introduce the games to Beijing in 2008. Yao ran the torch through China’s symbolic Tiananmen Square gate through the Palace Museum and onto the streets. Former gymnast Li Ning, who won 6 medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics (China's first), was hoisted up on wires during the Beijing Opening Ceremonies to light the Olympic Cauldron.
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Yao Ming's Career High 41 Points GamevIn this triple overtime game against the Atlanta Hawks in 2002, Yao Ming scored a career high 41 points to help lead the Rockets to the victory. In addition, to his impressive offensive performance, Yao also racked up 16 rebounds.
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3 FIBA Asian Championship Gold MedalsNot only was Yao the MVP of the 2001, 2003, and 2005 FIBA Asian Championship, but he also led the Chinese national team to the gold medals all three years.
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Yao Ming Meets Verne TroyervThe tallest and shortest celebrities come face-to-face in this spot for Apple's 12" and 17" PowerBooks. (Get it?) Yao and Verne Troyer (better known as "Mini-Me" from the Austin Powers films) are boarding a plane near one another when they both reach for their laptops. Humorously, Yao uses the smaller 12" PowerBook while Verne grabs his 17" PowerBook. (You may also notice that the narrator of the ad is none other than actor Jeff Goldblum.)
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#1 Overall Pick in the 2002 NBA DraftYao was selected by the Houston Rockets as the #1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. It doesn't get much better than that.
The deal was a long time in the planning. The Rockets sought special permission from the China Basketball Association to pick up Yao (who was already a star in his homeland). Through an interpreter, while still in Beijing, Yao told reporters that he was excited for the start of "my new basketball life" and said "This is a new league in front of me for me to play, so it will be a new challenge for me."
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Yao Ming Anti-Shark Fin Soup CommercialvEveryone knows Yao Ming as a basketball player, but not everyone has seen his activist side. This commercial illustrates Yao's willingness to stick up for the millions of sharks that are killed each year in order to make soup. In the ad, Yao is about to enjoy some shark fin soup before seeing a finless shark suffering in a nearby aquarium. The ghastly image causes him, and the rest of the diners, to push their soups to the center of the table in disgust.
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Yao Ming Posterizes LeBronvYao brutally dunks over the top of LeBron James in this clip from a February 2009 game between the Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. This led to much debate between fans over the importance of a height differential when blocking shots.
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Yao Ming at a Charity RoastvIn April of 2008, Yao was being honored at a charity event in Houston, which included a traditional roast. When he finally got up for his turn to speak, Yao showed off his comedy chops by turning the tables on his roasters. Most of his jokes stem from observations about the clash between Yao's Chinese upbringing and his new experiences in America.
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Yao Ming Super Bowl CommercialvYao starred in a high-profile Visa commercial that played during Super Bowl XXXVII. In the ad, Yao goes into a New York souvenir store only to discover that he is unable to pay by check. This leads to some comic hijinks as the traditional "Yo!" expression of the store's New Yorkers gets confused with Yao's own first name. You know, cause they sound similar. Or something.
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Shanghai SharksBefore joining the Houston Rockets in 2002, Yao played for the Shanghai Sharks in the China Basketball Association (CBA). Yao played 122 games with the Sharks and averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds. He became only the second Chinese player in history to enter the NBA in America. (The first was Wang Zhizhi the previous year.)
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The Yao Ming SongvNot everyone gets a song made about them. But, if you're Yao Ming songs are made about you. In 2002, Chance McClain and Kevin Ryan created the Yao Ming Song. (Official title: "The Yao Ming Song (It's a Ming Thing)." It's a remix of the soccer chant "Ole, Ole, Ole." Houston Rocket fans have been singing it loud and proud ever since.
Notable lyrics include:
"Get into his grill he’ll flat cold-cock ya/
Forget about Shaq he could stuff Chewbacca"
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Yao Ming T-Mobile CommercialvThis T-Mobile ad features Yao, Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley. Wade and Barkley are eating in a Chinese restaurant and are shocked to discover, when a waitress brings them "Yao's favorite dish," that they are expected to eat a live shrimp. Barkley uses his T-Mobile phone to call Yao and ask for help. Yao's advice? "Eat the head."
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Yao Ming Ejected from GamevYao was known for his class as a player. But, apparently even polite 7.5" Chinese men get irritated at the refs every once in a while. Check out this video of Yao getting kicked out of the game against the Sacramento Kings on December 1, 2007, and his ensuing frustration.
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Yao Ming on Jimmy KimmelvOn December 22, 2006, Yao appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" alongside his friend and teammate, Tracy McGrady. The two sort of awkwardly discuss Yao's love of video games and the fact that, according to Chinese custom, he still lives with his parents.
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2008 Coca Cola Olympic CommercialvYao appeared in a now-classic ad for Coca-Cola as part of a cross-promotion with the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. In the spot, Coke trucks lead a group of girls to a magical Opening Ceremonies-inspired parade through the streets. Eventually, the girls meet up with Yao Ming, carrying the Olympic Torch, who then leads them to the stadium.