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Yao Ming is arguably China’s biggest sports star. He retired from professional basketball to become an executive of the game in China.
He joined a sports school at age 9 and by the time he turned 10, he had grown 5’ 5” (165cm). He joined the junior team of CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) side, Shanghai Sharks when he was just 13 and was called up to the senior side when he was 17. He won the CBA title with them in 2002.
Best Known For
Easily identifiable for his towering height and his laugh, Yao is known globally for playing NBA side, Houston Rockets for 9 seasons, retiring in 2011.
He now serves as owner of Shanghai Sharks when he bought them in 2009 and as the 6th president of the CBA after assuming office in 2017.
Yao Ming is straight and has been known to be in love with only one woman all his life; his wife and basketball player, Ye Li. They had met when Yao was 17 but she had not fancied him, but began dating after the 2000 Olympics. They got married in an intimate ceremony in 2007.
He is the son of basketball players, Yao Zhiyuan and Fang Fengdi, who have also served as his career managers. In 2010, he and Li became parents to a baby girl that they named Yao Qinlei Amy.
His religious beliefs are something Yao Ming is yet to speak of. He is assumed to be non-religious.
Worth To Know
His co-authored autobiography, Yao: A Life in Two Worlds was released in 2004.
As an actor, he has appeared in films like Amazing (2013), The Magic Aster (2009) and in South Park (2004-08).