Yao Ming Announces Retirement
Yao Ming officially announced his retirement on Wednesday afternoon during a press conference in Shanghai, China. The 30-year-old spoke about his decision to retire after suffering a series of foot and leg injuries, with hundreds of reporters in attendance.
“I need to make a personal decision,” Yao said. “I will stop my basketball career and I will formally retire.”
He thanked many of the people who helped him during his nine-year career. However, he took the most time thanking the fans of the Houston Rockets, who supported him unconditionally during his stint with the team.
“I want to thank all of my friends, but especially the fans in Houston,” Yao said. “I would like to thank you for giving me a great nine years during my NBA career. Nine years ago, I came to Houston as a young, tall, skinny player. The entire city and team changed me into a grown man. I also had my first daughter there. I will always be with you. Thank you.”
Yao made it clear that he’s not walking away from basketball entirely. He will now focus his attention on the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Prior to his NBA career, Yao played for the Sharks, beginning when he was 13 years old. He is now the president of the Sharks and will help manage the team.
He will also serve as an ambassador for the game of basketball. Yao helped globalize the sport and will partner with the NBA to continue increasing the NBA’s worldwide popularity.
“Yao has been, without question, a transformational player for our league and a source of pride for many people in China and America,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “This is not a complete goodbye. We’re looking forward to working with Yao in the next stage of his life. He’s an iconic figure in China and an iconic figure in America. We will work with him to continue growing the game.”
Yao’s career ended in disappointing fashion, but his presence changed basketball forever and he will continue to make an impact on the league for years to come.