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ESPN The Magazine: NEXT Past Covers

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2001: Yao Ming

Photograph By ESPN The Magazine

Yao Ming was NEXT when he played for the Shanghai Sharks. "A glance at the booming skyline makes you think the city seems bent on turning New York into the Shanghai of the West," wrote Cal Fussman. "You even get the sense that Yao is a metaphor for his city: the human skyscraper it wants to show the world."