Yao makes it official; injuries force him to retire

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Yao makes it official; injuries force him to retire

SHANGHAI - 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]
발목 부상에 발목 잡힌 야오밍 … 상하이에서 NBA 공식 은퇴 선언
‘걸어다니는 만리장성’ 야오밍(31·중국·사진)이 20일 자신의 고향인 중국 상하이 푸둥의 그랜드상하이호텔에서 은퇴 기자회견을 했다.

키 2m29㎝의 센터 야오밍은 2002년 미국프로농구(NBA) 휴스턴 로키츠에 입단한 후 지난 시즌까지 NBA 정규리그 486경기에 출전해 평균 19점·9.2리바운드를 기록했다. 그러나 왼쪽 발목 피로골절 탓에 2009~2010 시즌을 통째로 쉬는 등 부진을 겪었다. 야오밍은 “부상 때문에 선수 생활을 그만두기로 했다”고 말했다. 중국 국영 CCTV는 특별방송을 편성해 이날 기자회견을 생중계했고, 현장에는 전 세계 100여 매체의 취재진이 몰렸다. 야오밍은 상하이 샤크스 농구팀 단장을 맡을 것으로 알려졌다.
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