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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 CommercialEveryone 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 LeBronYao 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 RoastIn 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 CommercialYao 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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