Best Rocket (2004)
Yao Ming During the NBA Finals this year, the Los Angeles Lakers thrilled the world by going down in selfish, egotistical flames. They devoted more energy to pointing fingers at each other than to putting the ball in the basket, and one of the most egregious offenders was Shaquille O'Neal, a whining, overweight superstar who thinks he's better than the game itself. Here in Houston, we have the Anti-Shaq. Seven-foot-five center Yao Ming is eager to pass the ball, says all the right things (through an interpreter, of course; for all we know he might actually be saying, "Gimme the damn ball!") and wants nothing more than to win. Being the Anti-Shaq has its drawbacks, of course -- Yao could gain a little more upper-body strength and we wouldn't complain. But in a city that knows how to treat large foreigners playing center for the Rockets, Yao has become a defining symbol for our favorite basketball team. Even if that means they need to be a little more aggressive once in a while.