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
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.