Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming was honored Friday night as his No. 11 jersey was retired by the club in a ceremony in Houston.

Ming played seven seasons in the NBA before missing the 2009 season because of injury, and subsequently missing all but five games in the 2010 season. He retired shortly after because of injuries.

The 7-foot-6 center was an eight-time All-Star, and is one of two players to be voted in as a starter every season of his career. He averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for his career and was one of the most dominant big men of his generation.

Yao blazed a unique trail. He became the first player drafted No. 1 overall despite not playing in college. And he walked that trail successfully, being enshrined into the Hall of Fame with Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson last year.

“As a basketball player he’s one of the best,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said via ESPN. “He presented something you don’t really see every day, 7-6 of an unbelievable talent and knowledge of the game.

“When you get to know him, which I have the last year or so, he’s a funny guy, a great locker room guy, he added so much to the game. He’s a pioneer and what they’re doing tonight is great and being in the Hall of Fame is even better. But he deserved everything, if not more.”

Former Rockets teammates Tracy McGrady and Dikembe Mutombo were on hand, as were former Rockets stars Hakeem Olajuwon and Calvin Murphy.

Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Houston Rockets retire of Hall of Famer Yao Ming’s No. 11 jersey