Yao Ready For This?


June 26 - A new era of Houston Rockets basketball has begun with the selection of Yao Ming as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft. The last time Houston had the honor of selecting first overall, the Rockets chose a skinny kid from the University of Houston named Hakeem Olajuwon with the top pick of the 1984 NBA Draft. Ten years later, Olajuwon dominated the league both offensively and defensively in leading Houston to back-to-back NBA titles. Will the same fate be in store for the Rockets with Ming manning the middle? Hop on Rockets fans, it should be an exciting journey. Yao ready for this?

  • Yao Ming's post-draft chat on NBA.com
  • Rockets make Ming their Man
  • Yao's on board. Are you?
  • Yao Ming Bio
  • Yao Got a Nickname? Help us find a nickname for Yao Ming
  • Former NBA coach Don Casey's scouting report of Yao Ming
  • The Great Yao Mystery
  • Photos: Rudy T. and Carroll Dawson meet Yao Ming in China
  • Yao Ming Photo Gallery
  • Yao Ming works out for NBA teams
  • NBA.com's draft section in Chinese
  • NBA.com’s Brad Greenberg rates the centers
  • Rockets select Bostjan Nachbar with No. 15 pick
  • VIDEO: Experts discuss Yao: 56k | 300k
  • VIDEO (June 26): GM Carroll Dawson announces Yao Ming will be the No. 1 pick -



  • VIDEO: Yao Ming's representatives pay a visit to Houston -



    “He obviously shoots the ball extremely well and has some passing skills. He can put the ball on the floor for a guy his size, one or two dribbles either way. He runs extremely well, so he’s got a lot of potential … I do think he has the potential to be a franchise-level player.”
    -STU JACKSON, NBA Vice President, Basketball Operations

    The Rockets drew plenty of national praise with their selections of Yao Ming, Bostjan Nachbar and Tito Maddox in the 2002 NBA Draft. Rockets.com took a peek at what a few of the experts had to say following the draft.

    June 26 - Rockets.com was on hand in the Rockets war room during draft night to bring you exclusive video highlight clips. See the Rockets staff's celebration of selecting Yao, Tomjanovich's and Dawson's comments on the draft, the sweating out of Indiana's pick, and more!

    Coming To America

    Prior to the Rockets' selection of Yao Ming first overall in the 2002 NBA Draft, no international player had ever been taken with the first pick of the NBA draft without first having played collegiately in the United States. The highest drafted player to come into the NBA from an international basketball league was Spain's Pau Gasol, whom Memphis picked third overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. Gasol stood with Dirk Nowitzki and Vladimir Radmanovic as the only international lottery picks to never play college basketball in the United States. Below is a look at the five highest drafted international players with no college experience (prior to Ming). Each of these players was taken in the first round of one of the last six drafts.

    Pick No. Player Year Drafted Team Birthplace
    3 Pau Gasol 2001 Memphis Barcelona, Spain
    9 Dirk Nowitzki 1998 Dallas Wurzburg, Germany
    12 Vladimir Radmanovic 2001 Seattle Trebinje, Yugoslavia
    14 Predrag Stojakovic 1996 Sacramento Belgrade, Yugoslavia
    16 Hidayet Turkoglo 2000 Sacramento Istanbul, Turkey
    The Biggest And The Baddest

    Of the 46 all-time No. 1 picks since 1957, 13 of them have measured in at seven feet or taller. Coincidentally, 13 of these top picks also weighed in at 250 pounds or more. Shaquille O'Neal stands as the only No. 1 pick to enter the NBA at more than 300 pounds, while Yao Ming stands as the tallest all-time No. 1 pick at 7-5. Below is a look at the 13 heaviest and the 13 tallest all-time No. 1 picks.

    The 7-Footers Height The 250-Pounders Weight
    1. Yao Ming 7-5 1. Shaquille O'Neal 301
    2. Ralph Sampson 7-4 2. Yao Ming 296
    3. Lew Alcindor 7-2 3. Wilt Chamberlain 275
    4. Wilt Chamberlain 7-1 4. Derrick Coleman 270
    4. David Robinson 7-1 5. Brad Daugherty 269
    4. Shaquille O'Neal 7-1 5. Michael Olowokandi 269
    7. Joe Barry Carroll 7-0 7. Lew Alcindor 267
    7. Brad Daugherty 7-0 8. Elton Brand 260
    7. Tim Duncan 7-0 8. Tim Duncan 260
    7. Patrick Ewing 7-0 8. Bob Lanier 260
    7. Akeem Olajuwon 7-0 11. Patrick Ewing 255
    7. Michael Olowokandi 7-0 11. Akeem Olajuwon 255
    7. Bill Walton 7-0 13. David Robinson 250

    How many points do you think Yao Ming will average during his rookie season?

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    International Intrigue

    Over the last decade, the impact of international players in the NBA has significantly increased. On opening night of this past season, a record 52 international players from 31 different countries resided on NBA rosters. Over the last six NBA drafts, 62 international players have been selected, with 32 going in the first round and 30 in the second round. Ten or more international players have been drafted in four of the past five years. In 2000 a record seven foreign-born players were taken in the first round, with a record 14 international players being drafted overall. Of the international players taken in the past six drafts, four have become All-Stars (Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic), two have been named Rookie of the Year (Duncan and Pau Gasol), and one has been named MVP (Duncan).

    "One" From Abroad

    Before Yao Ming was selected with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft, a player born outside of the United States had been selected first five times over the last 45 years. However, each of these players has played college basketball in America before entering the draft. Interestingly, all of these players were centers in college, with all but Mychal Thompson measuring in at seven feet tall. Below is a look at the five foreign-born players taken with the first overall selection.

    Player Year Drafted Team Birthplace
    Mychal Thompson 1978 Portland Trail Blazers Nassau, Bahamas
    Akeem Olajuwon 1984 Houston Rockets Lagos, Nigeria
    Patrick Ewing 1985 New York Knicks Kingston, Jamaica
    Tim Duncan 1997 San Antonio Spurs St. Croix, Virgin Islands
    Michael Olowokandi 1998 Los Angeles Clippers Lagos, Nigeria

    The Rockets entered the 2002 NBA Draft Lottery with just slightly less than a nine percent chance of walking away with the top pick. The lottery held true to form until the fifth pick when the Denver Nuggets were awarded the fifth selection. This meant the Rockets, who entered the lottery with the fifth-best chance of receiving one of the top three spots, had indeed moved up into the top three. After revealing envelopes bearing the logos of Memphis, Golden State and Chicago for the second through fourth picks, Rockets representative Steve Francis let out a smile, knowing the Rockets had secured the top pick in the draft.

  • Video - Rockets win lottery:



  • Video - NBA TV's report of Yao Ming's workout in Chicago:



  • Rudy T. speaks about the No. 1 pick
  • Rockets defy odds
  • What should the Rockets do with the No. 1 pick?
  • NBA announces early entry candidates
  • NBA.com 2002 Draft Lottery Index
  • Evolution of the lottery

    Two days after the Draft Lottery, Rockets GM Carroll Dawson conducted a conference call with members of the national media to answer questions about the Rockets' No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

    The Rockets pulled off a draft-day stunner last year when they sent their three first-round selections (Richard Jefferson, Jason Collins, Brandon Armstrong) to New Jersey for the rights to Eddie Griffin. This was one of those deals that has worked for both teams, as Jefferson, Collins and Armstrong helped lead the Nets to the 2002 NBA Finals, while Griffin showed flashes of brilliance during a solid rookie campaign that has Rockets fans excited about his potential to do the same for Houston in the future.

  • Rockets deal for Eddie Griffin
  • Rockets, Magic swap first-round picks
  • Eddie Griffin draft profile

    Rockets Draft 2001 Video

    Rudy T. on Draft Night

    28.8+ |
    Rockets War Room Video

    28.8+ |
    Welcome Eddie and Terence!

    28.8+ |

    Do you know who was the first player drafted in Rockets franchise history? If you guessed current Miami Heat Head Coach Pat Riley, you either have a great memory or you are indeed a serious Rockets fan. Riley, who was chosen by the San Diego Rockets with the seventh overall selection in the First Round of the 1967 NBA Draft, played three seasons for the Rockets before moving on to the L.A. Lakers in 1970. If you'd like to see EVERY player the Rockets have drafted in franchise history, click here to take a look.

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