When the Houston Rockets won the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, they chose a seven-foot-six center named Yao Ming. Yao instantly became a household name, as well as the go-to metaphor for rappers who wanted to describe anything from rims to money as tall, but his career with the Rockets has been disappointing. Though Yao is prodigiously talented, a great teammate and ambassador, and productive while on the court, he (like many great NBA big men) has been betrayed by his body. In his case, Yao has suffered various foot injuries since 2005, and the injuries have given his career the momentum of a car with a faulty engine. Theyve also altered the course of the Houston franchise, as the teams MIT-educated general manager, Daryl Morey, has had to get creative in order to build a competitive team, and this year has proved especially tough. The Rockets E Street Band, without their Bruce, will take on the Miami Heat on Sunday at the American Airlines Arena.
Sun., March 27, 6 p.m., 2011