19. Yao Ming: Bigger than Life

Yao Ming is one of the most influential ever to live in the United States of . So, how does a 22-year-old Chinese male, born Shanghai, become an international superstar, who changes the both cultures look at each other? Ming stands '6", which makes him one of the tallest players to play the game, but that is not extent of his power. Ming was tall, and .

Ming started his career in China, where he for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball . That was the season when the Sharks won CBA championship. He was able to negotiate a from his contract with the Sharks, making him for the National Basketball Association draft in 2002. was one of the most sought-after players ever come from China, and he was eventually drafted the Houston Rockets.

Ming found moderate success in NBA. His size and strength made him a presence. He was so big and talented that could dominate any game just by being on court. Ming led the Rockets to the team's playoff appearance in several years, but his statistical were not so impressive. Still, Ming was one the most popular players in NBA history. The loved him, and voted him into the All-Star eight times.

Ming did create some degree of from other players, most notably Shaquille O'Neal from Los Angeles Lakers. O'Neal was one of the dominant players in the game for a brief of years, and in 2003, Ming outvoted O'Neal an NBA fan vote by more than 250,000 . This angered O'Neal, who vowed to outplay Ming the two giants met on the court.