Is Yao Ming the greatest REALLY TALL NBA player ever?

A brief post, just some things I thought about in the last few days.

1) Ray Allen – what’s up, yo? Man, don’t you want to decide already whether you’re coming back or not? I’ll make it simple for you – you do need to come back! It doesn’t really matter which team you’ll play for this season, just play! The season is already 10 games deep (+/-), and you don’t have that many games left to make 100+ three point field goals! I mean, you do want to break the tie with Reggie Miller and singlehandedly hold the record for most consecutive seasons with 100+ made treys, right? You both have 15 of those, which is cool, but isn’t it much much cooler to be the ONLY guy who has 16 consecutive seasons? Just make up your mind, cuz there ain’t that much time left! You’ll need to score a little bit more than 1.4 treys per game if you come back now and play in every single game. Now, last year you scored 1.59 treys per game, so that’s definitely doable, but still – come back now, or you’ll regret it until the end of time!

2) Is Yao Ming the greatest REALLY TALL player in NBA history? I don’t mean players who are just very very tall, like Shaq or Kareem. I mean players that are abnormally tall, who are amongst the tallest evar. And Yao, at 7’6, is tied with Shawn Bradley for the 3rd tallest player ever, just behind Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol, who are 7’7.

Now, how do we define REALLY REALLY tall? let’s say 7’4+. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why! I find that question offensive I say so. Anyway, those are the giants among the NBA players. In fact, since Yao retired, we didn’t have a single NBA player at that height. The closest one was Hasheem Thabeet, at 7’3. Damn, if only we’d lowered the criterion to 7’3…

Now, let’s start from the top. Like, literally.

7’7: Muresan is probably the greatest actor among the REALLY TALL NBA players, but his career definitely falls short of Yao’s. Manute Bol? Well, he was an exceptional shot-blocker, but overall that’s not even a close race. 7’6 Shawn Bradley perhaps shares with Yao the same height, but talent-wise and achievement-wise they’re not in the same league. It’s like Yao plays in the NBA and Bradley plays in the NBA… for the… not-so-good-players… 😐

At 7’5 we have some really anonymous players, like Pavel Podkolzin (Who?!), Chuck Nevitt (What?!), and Slavko Vranes. I shit you not, there was in fact such a player. Anyway, no case here.

7’4: Here we finally have some potential competitors for Yao’s title. Mark Eaton, Rik Smits, and Ralph Sampson. There is also some dude named Priest Lauderdale, but he’s not really a factor. Now, Sampson had a stellar first 3 years, but then his career deteriorated quickly. Despite playing a similar amount of games to Yao (Ralph – 456, Yao – 486), he loses the race in virtually every statistical category. In addition, Sampson was named to only one All-NBA 2nd team, while Yao is a 2 times second team All-NBAer (yes, this is a word! I said so!) and 3 times 3rd team ALL-NBAer. Yao wins. Flawless victory.

Rik Smits – probably THE worst rebounder ever in NBA history when you factor in the players’ height. I really hated watching him play, and I always think what if Jermaine O’Neal would have come to the Pacers one year earlier, before – and not after, their glorious 99-00 campaign? Would they perhaps stand a chance against the Lakers? No? Ok, just checking. Anyway, Smits is not the guy to challenge Yao.

We are left with Mark Eaton. the greatest shot-blocker ever. Defensively he tops Yao, no doubt. But overall? A player who can’t shoot the ball even if his life depends on it? A decent rebounder and a great shot-blocker, that’s true, a two-times DPOY, and a 5-time All-Defensive teamer. Is that enough to top Yao? Well, I honestly don’t think so.

Now look, I ‘m not a fan of Yao – far from that. I think he failed to live up to the great hype (but perhaps it was not Yao’s but the hype’s fault?), and that he never was the best center in the NBA. First there was Shaq, and then there was Dwight Howard. Yao was never the best. At most, he was second best. And he was also a mediocre rebounder, considering his height.

But, consider the following – he suffered greatly from injuries, but when he was healthy he was pretty much a 20-10 guy, which is what you should expect from your good center – his averages starting from his 2nd year and through his last healthy season are 20.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.6 apg and 1.9bpg. That’s really good! Add to that all of his All-NBA selections and that he made Houston a very good team, despite the fact that he only once went further than the 1st round.

AND he made a huge contribution to the memes world, which is worth more than all of Eaton’s defensive awards put together.

Yes, I think Yao tops Eaton in terms of their total careers. So come down and collect your award, Mr. Ming! You are officially the greatest REALLY TALL NBA player ever!

Yao's greatest contribution to the world.

Yao’s greatest contribution to the world.

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