Yao Ming was the center for the Shanghai Oriental Sharks, who recently won the 2002 Chinese Basketball Association Championship, 123-122. He is 7'5" tall and entered the in NBA in the 2002 NBA Draft, held June 26th. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with their number-one overall pick.

Reportedly, aside from being one of the tallest men in the league, he also has amazing range on his jump shot and the athleticism and energy to run the floor--which will make him a key element for the Rockets if they want to play the kind of 80's style, run and gun game that the Mavericks and Kings have discovered just might derail the Lakers on their way to four championships in a row.

We can only hope.

On the other hand, conflicting reports have indicated that he is flat-footed on defense, he is clearly underweight (...well, compared to Shaq, of course, but then, he is the very model for the modern NBA center), and a short wingspan for his height. Whether he turns out to be the perfect successor to his hero, the Dream, or just another Gheorghe Muresan or Manute Bol remains to be seen.