In his phenomenal but short NBA career, former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming left his mark on his then-teammates, including Rafer Alston.
In a wide-ranging interview with VLAD TV, Alston revealed how Yao motivated him to always push himself to the limit by displaying incredible work ethic.
“Playing with Yao Ming was one of the greatest times of my basketball life from a standpoint that he made you want to get better and go about your job the right way, every day,” Alston said.
“If practice started at 11, Yao Ming is in the building at 9 working on his game, working on his footwork, working on his free throws, working on his turn around post-up moves,” he continued. “He is already in a full sweat.”
A series of recurring injuries cut Yao’s soaring NBA career short. However, during his quick spell with the Rockets, the eight-time NBA All-Star was able to show Alston not only his exceptional basketball skills but also his “good” character outside the court.
“His dedication to the sport, to the game, to his team, was unlike any other,” the former And-1 streetball star said of Yao. “It made me want to do it every single day. I have to credit getting traded and watching Yao every day to make sure I continue to do the right thing at all times. “
“Yao is a phenomenal individual, and not everyone had the chance to see him outside the arena,” he added. “Yao is a good guy, a funny guy.”
To pay homage to his unique contribution to the Rockets organization, the team retired his jersey no. 11 in 2017.