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					PA G E 2 0                                                                      CHINA DAILY                          ASIA WEEKLY                                              JULY 29 - AUGUST 4, 2011

                                                                                                                                     see anyone like him again in the         ing 8.0-magnitude earthquake that
                                                                                                                                     next decade.” Ma was chief of China      hit Wenchuan in Southwest China
                                                                                                                                     Central Television’s sports channel      in 2008, Yao donated 2 million
                                                                                                                                     1993-2005.                               yuan ($309,741) and then set up the
                                                                                                                                        “He was already a larger-than-life    Yao Foundation to further aid the
                                                                                                                                     national hero in China. And that         victims and other poverty-stricken
                                                                                                                                     status came from a perfect combi-        people in rural areas of China.
                                                                                                                                     nation of born gifts, intelligence,      Since 2007, Yao has teamed with a

                                                                                                                                     Chinese-Western nurturing and            series of NBA icons and entertain-
                                                                                                                                     even good timing. It’s hard to be        ment celebrities to twice stage the
                                                                                                                                     duplicated,” Ma told China Daily.        Yao Ming-Steve Nash charity games
                                                                                                                                        Ma, a renowned figure in Chi-          in Beijing and Chinese Taipei to
                                                                                                                                     nese sports, hailed Yao’s role as an     raise donations for poor children.
                                                                                                                                     international ambassador, and said          So far, Yao’s foundation has
                                                                                                                                     it was akin to one of the sport’s all-   reaped 44 million yuan in dona-

                                                                                                                                     time icons, Michael Jordan.              tions and has completed seven
                                                                                                                                        “Jordan’s retirement left the void    schools, according to Yao’s agent,
                                                                                                                                     of a true leader in the NBA, and         Zhang Mingji.
                                                                                                                                     that will happen in China after             “Charity will be my lifetime-long
                                                                                                                                     Yao’s departure. The Americans           job compared to my limited career
                                                                                                                                     haven’t found the next Jordan. We        as a basketball player. I’ll try my
                                                                                                                                     will also struggle to see another        best to do it even after I retire,” Yao

                                                                        ends                                CUI MENG / CHINA DAILY
                                                                                                                                     Yao,” Ma said.
                                                                                                                                        According to a poll on China
                                                                                                                                     Daily’s website, 73 percent of the
                                                                                                                                     respondents didn’t believe “there is
                                                                                                                                     someone from the serving national
                                                                                                                                     team that could take on Yao’s role”.
                                                                                                                                        Li said Yao excelled at each level
                                                                                                                                                                              said last month during the comple-
                                                                                                                                                                              tion ceremony of a special educa-
                                                                                                                                                                              tion school in Gansu province.
                                                                                                                                                                                 Apart from charity work, Yao has
                                                                                                                                                                              started his own business network.
                                                                                                                                                                                 According to Forbes, Yao reaped
                                                                                                                                                                              about 2 billion yuan from his sal-
Final bow: Yao Ming at a news conference in Shanghai on July 20 where he announced his retirement from professional
                                                                                                                                     of the game, which made it difficult     ary and global endorsements since
basketball. Yao, 30, had been widely expected to retire after he told the Houston Rockets he would not be returning next
                                                                                                                                     for others to receive the torch.         2002. He routinely tops Forbes’
season after two years blighted by injury.
                                                                                                                                         He triggered massive interest in     wealthy celebrities list in China. In
                                                                                                                                     the sport here while averaging 19        2009, Yao bought his hometown
BASKETBALL ICON LEAVES THE GAME AND A HUGE LEGACY AFTER A                                                                            points and 9.2 rebounds per NBA
                                                                                                                                     game, which won him eight NBA
                                                                                                                                                                              CBA club Shanghai Sharks for 96
                                                                                                                                                                              million yuan.
LANDMARK CAREER WITH THE HOUSTON ROCKETS IN THE NBA                                                                                  all-star appearances.                       Ma, who has promoted the CBA
                                                                                                                                         Meanwhile, former NBA play-          over the past three years, believes

By SUN XIAOCHEN                             the basketball court on July 20, a             ably played a part in the injuries        ers including Stephon Marbury,           Yao’s retirement could be a boon for
                                            huge burden was lifted from his                that cut short his career.                Quincy Douby and Steve Francis           the league.
             or Chinese all over            shoulders. China now has to face                  Li, who worked hard to imple-          came to China and play in the CBA.          “He will put more energy into
             the world, it was a            the tough reality: that there is no            ment professional reforms in the          Current NBA stars such as Kobe           the Sharks’ management when he
             proud moment when              one who can step into the shoes of             Chinese Basketball Association            Bryant and Dwight Howard are             retires. His return to the CBA as an
             Yao Ming carried the           Yao in the foreseeable future.                 (CBA) during his 2003-08 tenure,          considering joining the league due       owner will definitely draw attention
             national flag at the               Li Yuanwei, China’s former bas-             stressed the half-professional sys-       to the NBA lockout.                        back from the US. That should
             opening ceremony of            ketball chief, who witnessed Yao               tem that exists is a barrier to gener-       “It is Yao who makes the                      lure more sponsorship and
the 2008 Beijing Olympics three             grow from a tentative rookie to one            ating another Yao.                        kids in China like basketball                     eyeballs to his Shanghai
years ago. The Houston Rockets’             of the nation’s iconic sportsmen,                 “The CBA is far from a fully           and makes them know how                           team and the league. He
all-star center almost provided a           felt sad for the giant’s departure             developed professional league             a real professional bas-                           still has that kind of power.
different bridge between modern             and said the next Chinese basket-              compared to the NBA. In this sys-         ketball player should                                  “The NBA has benefited
China and the rest of the world             ball superstar could be years away.            tem, we can’t produce stars with          be. It’s also him                                   from his popularity a lot.
with his stunning performances                 “Just for the basketball skills,            the same international influence           who promotes                                             Many domestic compa-
in the NBA — along with his open            there might be someone who could               as Yao. He is just a unique case,” Li     the CBA’s pro-                                            nies bought commer-
mind, witty sense of humor and              reach his level or even surpass                said.                                     file abroad,”                                              cial ads in the Toyota
eastern humility — since debuting           him,” said Li.                                    Ma Guoli, CEO and managing             said Xu                                                    Center (the Rockets’
in the popular league in 2002                  “But in terms of a comprehen-               director of Infront China, which          Jicheng, a pop-                                            home court) and
as the overall No 1 draft pick.             sive influence, combining physical              operates the CBA and the national         ular basketball                                             signed his team-
With his unparalleled influence,             condition, engaging personality                teams’ marketing programs, echoed         commentator.                                                mates, including
Yao used his star power to the              and international image, I don’t see           Li.                                          Off the court, Yao                                        Shane Battier and
benefit of communities, charity              anyone who has the potential to                   “Nobody can emulate Yao’s              performs for charity                                        Luis Scola, with big
campaigns and even, in part, Sino-          achieve that peak.”                            impact in 10 years,” Ma said.             and is a business-                                         deals. Now it’s the
US ties. When the 2.26-meter giant             Li also said Yao played too much            “There’s never been anyone like           man.                                                      time of the CBA,” said
announced his retirement from               for the national team, which prob-             him before and I doubt we’ll ever            After the devastat-                                       Ma.

JUNE 2002                 NOV 2002                            JAN 2003                        FEB 2005                                 DEC 2005                  2005-06 SEASON      DEC 2006
The Houston Rockets       Before the season, several          Yao has first on-court           Both Tracy McGrady                       Yao’s undergoes his       His final averages   Yao is injured again, this time
select Yao with the       commentators, including Bill        meeting with Shaquille          and Yao are voted to                       first major surgery      in 57 games are     breaking his right knee on Dec
first pick of the draft,   Simmons and Dick Vitale,            O’Neal. Yao scores 6            start in the 2005                          of an injury-plagued    22.3 points and     23, while attempting to block
making him the first       predict that Yao will fail in the   points and blocks O’Neal        NBA All-Star                               career. After           10.2 rebounds       a shot. Yao is unable to play in
international player      NBA. Charles Barkley said           twice in the opening            Game, and Yao                              missing only two        a game. It is the   what would have been his fifth
ever to be selected       he will kiss fellow commenta-       minutes, and makes a            breaks the re-                             games out of 246        first time he ends   All-Star Game. He is medically
first overall without      tor Kenny Smith’s ass if Yao        game-sealing dunk with 10       cord previously                            in his first three       a season with a     cleared to play on March 4,
having previously         scores more than 19 points          seconds left in overtime        held by Michael                            years of NBA play,      20/10 average.      2007, after missing 34 games.
played US college         in one of his rookie-season         to beat the Lakers. Yao         Jordan for most                            Yao endures an
basketball.               games.                              finishes with 10 points, 10      All-Star votes,                            extended period on
                          On Nov 17, he scores 20 points      rebounds and six blocks;        with 2,558,278.                            the inactive list in
                          on a perfect 9-of-9 from the        O’Neal records 31 points                                                   his fourth season
                          field and 2-of-2 from the free-      and 13 rebounds.                                                           after developing
                          throw line against the LA Lak-                                                                                 osteomyelitis in
                          ers. Barkley makes good on his      FEB 2004                                                                   the big toe of his
                          bet by kissing the buttock of       Yao has a career-high 41 points and                                        left foot. Surgery is
                          a donkey purchased by Smith         seven assists in a triple-overtime                                         performed on the
                          for the occasion.                   win against the Atlanta Hawks.                                             toe on Dec 18.

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