Yao Ming retired due to his persistent left foot injuries, reported Yahoo! Sports.  The perennial NBA All-Star ended his career averaging 19 points per game, 9 rebounds per game, and almost 2 blocks per game. 

So what did Yao Ming really accomplish in the NBA?

Statistically, he was a franchise-caliber player.  At his peak, he averaged 25 points per game and 10 rebounds per game.  For a short while, he was arguably the best overall center in the NBA and certainly the best offensive center in the NBA.

Had injury not plagued him - which may have been the case had he not been required to play for both the NBA and Chinese national basketball team - his dominance probably would have continued.

Until Dwight Howard matured more, Yao could have retained his title as the best NBA center for a few more years.  If his teammateTracy McGrady were also healthy, the duo could have gone deep into the playoffs and possibly won an NBA championship.  McGrady and Yao had a good supporting cast, too. 

In the 2007-2008 season, the Houston Rockets went on a 22-game winning streak (second longest in NBA history) late in the season, proving that the Rockets were title contenders.

But that's all speculation and in the end, none of that matters.

The truth is that Yao Ming, plagued by injuries, never won a championship; the best he did was the second round of playoffs.

Still, his career was extraordinary given his initial language limitations, cultural limitations, and obligations to the Chinese national basketball team.

He was also one of the good guys.  He worked hard, played hard, respected people, and won the admiration of almost everyone he came in contact with in his professional NBA career.

Yao Ming did the best he could with what he was given.  It's just unfortunate that injury ended his career prematurely.

Still, he will probably have a long and successful career and public life after his retirement.  The fans love him and the basketball world respects him.  What more can you ask for as a retired NBA star?