Yao makes it official; injuries force him to retireSHANGHAI - Yao Ming made it official yesterday, telling a packed news conference in his hometown that a series of injuries have forced him to retire from basketball.
The Houston Rockets center, who has become a household name in China and one of the stars of the NBA since his career as the top draft pick in 2002, confirmed weeks of speculation about his retirement by stating: “I will formally end my career.’’
The 7-foot-6 Yao played eight seasons, but missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years.
Yao’s farewell conference was attended by Houston general manager Daryl Morey. NBA commissioner David Stern was sending a message via video link. Morey had to get permission from the NBA to be here, as the lockout prohibits contact with players.
“Yao Ming has been a transformational player and a testament to the globalization of our game,’’ Stern said in a statement.
“His dominant play and endearing demeanor along with his extensive humanitarian efforts have made him an international fan favorite and provided an extraordinary bridge between basketball fans in the United States and China.’’
Yao said he will return to work with his former Chinese team, the Shanghai Sharks, with the possibility of becoming general manager. He plans to continue his philanthropic work with his Yao Foundation.
Selected as an NBA All-Star eight times, Yao averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds over his career. More importantly, his impact expanded the NBA’s influence in Asia into lucrative merchandise sales and TV ratings.
Yao had played six years with the Chinese national team before joining the Rockets, and was already a star in his home country.
He carried the Olympic torch through Tiananmen Square and his country’s flag during the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
He also donated $2 million and set up a foundation to rebuild schools in the wake of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.
한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
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