HOUSTON—Despite initial skepticism among NBA fans and analysts, Rockets center Yao Ming has had no trouble living up to the expectations of coaches and players that he would be 7'5" tall. "There was a lot of hype surrounding Yao's stature when he was selected as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, but he has turned out to be one of the most consistently tall players in the league," NBA analyst Marc Stein said. "Every time he runs out on the court, he's as tall as he can possibly be, and while Yao's shown no signs of improving in this area of his game, he's certainly not getting any shorter, either." Stein added that, while many suggested he could never match up against his star-center counterpart Shaquille O'Neal, Yao has been at least four inches greater than him in every contest this season.