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Happy Birthday Yao Ming!

We miss you Yao.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

I'll admit it. Even in all the excitement for the Dwight Howard signing, the upcoming season with a pair of All-Stars, and the promise of championship contention, I miss Yao Ming. I miss his tremendous soundbites, I miss his goofiness, and most of all, I miss one of the most visually pleasing players I've ever seen. There is something absolutely breathtaking about a 7'6" man taking a turnaround jumper from the baseline and drilling it, and I miss that terribly.

It feels like an eternity ago that Yao was retiring from the league, but he is still just 33. Obviously, things worked out well for the Rockets in his absence, but there is a part of me that wishes Yao could have been celebrating his 33rd as a member of the Rockets. Instead, it's Dwight Howard in his place, and while he may be the better player now, it just doesn't feel the same.

Happy birthday Yao, and let's hope retirement continues to treat you well.