Yao Ming: 'Hard to explain how honored I am'

- Being a team player to the end, Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming did not hesitate when discussing the fact that being elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is the greatest honor he has ever received.

"Yeah, unfortunately no championship," Yao said laughing during a telephone interview with FOX 26 Sports from China."

Yao was elected to the Hall of Fame through its International Committee,

"Think about it," Yao said. "My name will be standing right next to all those basketball superstars like Shaquille O’Neil, Dikembe Mutombo, Dream (Hakeem Olajuwon), Clyde (Drexler), Dr. J (Julius Erving), Moses (Malone), those guys. Just to have my name next to them, will be hard to explain how honored I am.”

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will officially announce its 2016 class on Monday in Houston during the NCAA Final Four.

To be honest with you getting to the Hall of Fame was not my dream in the beginning, not even the NBA," Yao said. "Basketball is my dream. I just feel fortunate there’s so many rewards during my career. Can live in Houston. Can play for the Rockets. To be blessed (in getting) into the Hall of Fame. All those things can only raise my appreciation for that.

"My dream is still going on, still going on right now."

Getting into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame means Yao is considered one of the best basketball players of all time.

That is not something Yao can grasp at this point.

"I’m not used to thinking this way," Yao said. "I’m not used to thinking of this question this way.”

Yao said it is terrific that he is going into the Hall of Fame after spending his entire NBA career with the Rockets.

"That’s me. This is my destiny," Yao said. "You know the story. When I first watch an NBA game, the Rockets game was on there, and they won the championship. I was selected by the Rockets. I played through my NBA career with the Rockets. All the dots are related together with the Rockets. That’s how I feel about being elected to the Hall of Fame as a Rocket."

Yao could not be more proud to represent the city of Houston in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

"Houston cannot be represented by just one person," Yao said. "I’m happy to be just a part of it.

"For me that’s a city that’s unforgettable in my life."

Yao heads into the Hall of Fame with the upmost respect for the owner he played for from 2002 to 2011, Leslie Alexander.

"I know Les is consistently trying to build a championship level team for Houston," Yao said. "He has a goal there, and sometimes the team will go up and down, but he never forgets and never gives up that hope and the goal."
 

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