Ambur Lamm

Ambur Lamm

Modified & Updated: 26 Jan 2024


Yao Ming, the legendary basketball player from China, is one of the most recognizable figures in both sports and pop culture. Standing at an impressive 7 feet 6 inches tall, Yao dominated the NBA with his exceptional skills on the court. While his basketball career has earned him worldwide fame, there are numerous surprising facts about Yao Ming that many people might not be aware of. From his upbringing in Shanghai to his philanthropy efforts off the court, Yao’s life is filled with fascinating details that contribute to his iconic status. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of Yao Ming and unveil 12 surprising facts that showcase the man behind the myth.

Table of Contents

Yao Ming’s Exceptional Height

Standing at a staggering 7 feet 6 inches (2.29 meters) tall, Yao Ming is known for his exceptional height, making him one of the tallest professional basketball players in history.

Early Basketball Beginnings

Yao Ming’s interest in basketball began when he joined the Shanghai Sharks at the young age of This marked the start of his journey towards becoming an international basketball sensation.

NBA Superstar

Yao Ming was the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, with the Houston Rockets selecting him. He quickly made a name for himself in the NBA, earning multiple All-Star selections and becoming a dominant force on the court.

Impact on Chinese Basketball

Yao Ming’s success in the NBA had a profound impact on Chinese basketball. He inspired a new generation of players, paving the way for the growth and popularity of the sport in China.

International Ambassador

Due to his immense popularity, Yao Ming was chosen as the ambassador for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His role further strengthened the connection between sports and diplomacy.

Philanthropic Ventures

Yao Ming is not just a basketball player but also a philanthropist. He has been actively involved in charitable endeavors, especially focused on education, disaster relief, and public health initiatives.

Hall of Famer

In 2016, Yao Ming was rightfully recognized for his impressive career and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. His remarkable achievements solidify his status as one of the all-time greats.

Cultural Icon

Yao Ming became a cultural icon, not just for his basketball skills, but also for bridging the gap between East and West. He helped foster understanding and appreciation between different cultures.

The NBA’s Global Growth

Yao Ming played a significant role in expanding the NBA’s popularity beyond North America. With his presence and influence, the league gained a massive following in China and other parts of the world.

Basketball Hall of Fame Double Induction

In a historic move, Yao Ming and fellow basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal were both inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same year, further highlighting Yao’s impact on the sport.

Entrepreneurial Ventures

After retiring from basketball, Yao Ming ventured into various business ventures. He became involved in wine production and even opened his own winery, showcasing his diverse interests and entrepreneurial spirit.

International Wildlife Advocate

Yao Ming has been an outspoken advocate for wildlife conservation, particularly in the fight against illegal ivory trade and the protection of endangered species.

Yao Ming’s incredible journey from a young basketball player in China to an international superstar has left an indelible mark on the world of sports and beyond. His remarkable height, philanthropic endeavors, and global influence have made him a true icon, transcending the boundaries of basketball and inspiring millions. The legacy of Yao Ming continues to resonate as he remains a symbol of perseverance, cultural exchange, and excellence in the world of sports.


In conclusion, Yao Ming is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and influential figures in the world of basketball. Standing at an impressive 7 feet 6 inches tall, he overcame numerous challenges and achieved remarkable success both on and off the court. His impact on the game, particularly in bridging the gap between the NBA and China, cannot be overstated. From his impressive basketball career to his philanthropic endeavors, Yao Ming has become a true global ambassador for the sport.


Q: What is Yao Ming’s height?

A: Yao Ming stands at an incredible height of 7 feet 6 inches.

Q: Which team did Yao Ming play for in the NBA?

A: Yao Ming was drafted as the first overall pick by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA Draft and played for them throughout his entire NBA career.

Q: How many All-Star appearances did Yao Ming have?

A: Yao Ming was selected as an All-Star in each of his eight healthy seasons in the NBA, making a total of eight All-Star appearances.

Q: What were Yao Ming’s career highlights?

A: Some of Yao Ming’s career highlights include being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, being named to the All-NBA Team five times, and winning two Olympic medals representing China.

Q: What is Yao Ming doing now?

A: Following his retirement from basketball, Yao Ming has been involved in various philanthropic efforts, primarily focusing on promoting education and environmental conservation in China. He is also the owner of the Chinese Basketball Association team, the Shanghai Sharks.