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Yao Ming

At 2.29 meters, the NBA player Yao Ming towers over most of his peers in both his height and star power.

Born in Shanghai, he is one of China's best-known athletes, with sponsorships with several major companies.

In recent year though, the Houston Rockets' player has been plagued by numerous injuries, causing him to sit out on the entire 2009-2010 NBA season.

But the setbacks on the courts has not hindered his earning power — the basketball star earned $17.7 million in his 2010/11 contract with the Houston Rockets.

Photo: Getty Images