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“NBA Yao School” announcement; Yao meets up with Lakers

Monday, October 21st, 2013
by John

Yao was pretty busy a few days ago in China. On October 15th he held a press conference in Beijing with NBA commissioner David Stern and other head honchos to announce the creation of the “NBA Yao School” in Beijing.

October 15, 2013 - Yao Ming at a press conference in Beijing with NBA commissioner David Stern to announce the NBA Yao School

The NBA Yao School, launching in February 2014, will provide after-school basketball training and fitness programs for boys and girls up to age 16 at all skill levels. The school aims to teach the importance of teamwork, leadership and communication in a fun basketball environment.

This announcement marks another milestone in the partnership between NBA China and Yao to develop youth basketball and create social responsibility programs in China. For more details about the NBA Yao School and video from the press conference, click here.

After the press conference, Yao attended a preseason game between Golden State and the L.A. Lakers in Beijing. Sitting next to him was friend and former Chinese teammate Sun Yue.

October 15, 2013 - Yao Ming watches an NBA preseason game in Beijing with friend Sun Yue

Yao ran into good friend Steve Nash at the game…

October 15, 2013 - Yao Ming and Steve Nash greet each other at a preseason game in Beijing

A couple of days later, Yao went to join the LA Lakers at an NBA Cares activity as well as an Open Day fan gathering at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre. Just like in Taipei, the target group for the NBA Cares activity was also 60 kids from the Chinese Special Olympics team.

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and all the LA Lakers players were there to teach the kids basketball fundamentals.

October 16, 2013 - Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant participate in an NBA Cares event with Special Olympics athletes in Shanghai

October 16, 2013 - Yao Ming and Kobe Bryant in Shanghai

Click here for more photos of Yao with Kobe, and other pics from the NBA Cares event in Shanghai.

Yao dwarfs Manny in pic

Thursday, August 8th, 2013
by John

If you think Yao’s photo with J.J. Watt a few months ago made J.J. look small, take a look at this one of Yao with boxers Manny Pacquiao (who stands 5′ 7″) and Brandon Rios.

July 30th, 2013 - Yao Ming stands with Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, boxers who were in China to promote their November fight in Macao
Photo: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Pacquiao and Rios were in China last week to promote their upcoming November pay-per-view fight in Macau.

Yao flies to Houston; will attend Dwight Howard press conference

Thursday, July 11th, 2013
by John

Yao has planned for awhile to fly from Beijing to Houston on Air China’s inaugural non-stop flight between the two cities, only the 4th U.S. city that Air China now flies non-stop from Beijing, behind New York, L.A. and San Francisco. So it’s kind of a big deal.

Since Yao is a goodwill ambassador for Houston, it made sense for Air China to invite him to fly on their first flight to Houston from Beijing. So this trip has obviously been planned for quite some time. But it’s great timing since Yao will be able to attend Dwight Howard’s first press conference on Saturday welcoming him as a Houston Rocket. That should be a pretty cool press conference since we understand Hakeem Olajuwon will also be there. Nice touch by these Rocket legends to be there to welcome Dwight to Houston.

Below are some photos that Raymond posted in the forum of Yao at the ceremony at the Beijing airport before he departed on his flight to Houston.

July 11th, 2013 - Yao Ming signs a model Air China plane before departing on its inaugural flight from Beijing to Houston

July 11th, 2013 - Yao Ming poses with Air China personnel before departing on the airline's inaugural flight between Beijing and Houston

July 11th, 2013 - Yao Ming takes photos before departing on the airline's inaugural flight between Beijing and Houston

Click here for more photos from the Air China ceremony.

Pics from Yao’s charity game in Beijing and the events beforehand

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
by John

On Monday night in Beijing, Yao’s Foundation had another charity game (more details of who it benefits are here) where NBA players like Joakim Noah, Luis Scola, Metta World Peace, Kyle Lowry, Ricky Rubio and others played the Chinese National Team. Published reports like this one revealed that Yao called Noah and MWP personally, not an assistant, to invite them to play.

Below are some photos from the night. Here’s a video that recaps some of the game, and Slam Online’s coverage of the game.

July 1st, 2013 - Yao Ming shoots some baskets before the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

Popular Brazilian soccer superstar Kaka of Real Madrid made an appearance and spoke to the crowd beforehand, and also talked with Yao. Since Kaka is a soccer ambassador for Brazil, he had flown to Beijing to promote an upcoming exhibition match between the Brazilian and Chinese national teams in September at the “Bird’s Nest.”

July 1st, 2013 - Brazilian soccer star says a few words to the crowd in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - Brazilian soccer star Kaka talks to Yao at the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - Joakim Noah throws down a dunk during the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - Joakim Noah plays defense in the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - George Hill dribbles toward the basket in the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - Metta World Peace puts up a shot with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady looking on

July 1st, 2013 - Luis Scola puts up a shot in the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - Ricky Rubio dribbles in the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

Tracy McGrady happened to be touring in China and had just flown in from Changsha, so he was too tired to play, but he did act as the “assistant coach” of Yao’s team.

July 1st, 2013 - Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady watch the action as coaches in the Yao Foundation charity game in Beijing

July 1st, 2013 - Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady cheer on their team of young players in the 3rd quarter of the Yao Foundation charity game

Click here for more photos and details of the game, thanks to Raymond in the forum.

On Sunday night, the night before the game, Yao held a charity gala event sponsored by the Thaihot Group, a conglomerate in residential and commercial real estate development, chemicals, mining, finance and securities, and bio-medicine. The charity gala was held outdoor in Thaihot’s mega-project Courtyards by the Canal.

June 30th, 2013 - The setting of the Yao Foundation charity gala in Beijing

June 30th, 2013 - Yao Ming on stage at his Foundation's charity gala in Beijing

Click here for more photos of Yao and other NBA players at the charity gala.

Earlier in the day on Sunday, Yao and Joakim Noah visited a primary school for children of migrant workers in the Changping District in Beijing.

June 30th, 2012 - Yao Ming and Joakim Noah visit a  primary school for children of migrant workers at Changping District in Beijing

June 30th, 2012 - Joakim Noah meets children at a primary school for children of migrant workers at Changping District in Beijing

June 30th, 2012 - Joakim Noah puts up a shot at primary school for children of migrant workers at Changping District in Beijing

June 30th, 2012 - Yao Ming and Joakim Noah visit a  primary school for children of migrant workers at Changping District in Beijing

Yao and Joakim split themselves up into teams with the school children to see which team could make the most layups. Yao’s team lost, so Yao had to pay up on a bet and do push-ups.

June 30th, 2013 - Yao Ming does push-ups after his team loses a bet on which team could make the most layups.

Click here to see more photos of Yao and Joakim’s visit to the school, and here for a video of some of their visit.

Yao’s wife Ye Li and daughter Amy also visited the primary school with Yao and Joakim. Click here for lots more photos of Yao’s wife and daughter.

June 30th, 2013 - Yao Ming's wife Ye Li and baby daughter Amy visits a primary school with Yao Ming and Joakim Noah

Before the weekend’s events, the Yao Foundation had a drawing for all ticket buyers where the winner would get their tickets delivered personally by Yao Ming himself. That’s exactly what happened on Thursday, June 27th. Check out the photos of below of Yao delivering the tickets and visiting with the winner.

June 27th, 2013 - Yao Ming delivers the tickets to the winner of a ticket lottery for his Foundation's charity game a few days later

June 27th, 2013 - Yao Ming visits with the winners of a ticket lottery

Click here for more photos of Yao visiting the winner of the tickets in his home.

Yao Foundation to hold another charity game with NBA players next Monday in Beijing

Monday, June 24th, 2013
by John

The Yao Foundation will be holding another charity game this coming Monday, July 1st in Beijing at the Mastercard Centre, where the 2008 Beijing Olympic basketball games were played.

June 2013 - the poster for the Yao Foundation charity game to be played in Beijing 2013 July 1st, 2013

So far five NBA players have committed to playing in the game against the Chinese National Team as the Chinese prepare for the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship to be played in Manila in early August. The NBA players who have committed to play on the “Yao Foundation” team are Joakim Noah, Metta World Peace, Kyle Lowry, George Hill, and Luis Scola.

You might remember that the Yao Foundation hosted two charity games 3 summers ago, one game played in Beijing and the other game in Taipei, which turned out to be very entertaining and successful in raising money to fund Yao Foundation charity initiatives.

The proceeds of this charity game will fund this year’s “Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season” project, as well as funding the travel and expenses of school children of the Hope Primary Schools in poverty-stricken areas (and the Ya’an earthquake stricken area) to participate in the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School basketball season.

Pics of Yao, wife and daughter at ice skating show

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
by John

Late last week Yao attended the “Artistry on Ice” show in Shanghai, which featured some of the top figure skaters in the world. This was Yao’s third consecutive year to attend the show, and he came with his wife Ye Li, actor and friend Deng Chao, and his daughter Amy (pictured at the bottom right).

June 14th, 2013 - Yao Ming attends the Artistry on Ice show in Shanghai with his family

This was the first time that Amy had been seen in public with his parents since Yao’s retirement from the NBA two years ago. She is growing up fast!

After the show, Yao went backstage to meet some of the skaters, like Canada’s Kurt Browning, who was the World Champion from 1989-1991 and 1993.

June 14th, 2013 - Yao Ming with figure skater Kurt Browning

And checkout this photo of Yao with flamboyant American skater Johnny Weir.

June 14th, 2013 - Yao Ming with figure skater Johnny Weir

Click here for more photos of Yao with his family, Yao with some of the skaters, and scenes from the show.

Yao and McGrady reunite for one night

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
by John

If you didn’t know, Tracy McGrady is now playing in the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s not going well for his new team, the Qingdao Double Star Eagles. They are winless in the new season. Coincidentally, they played Yao Ming’s winless (0-3) Shanghai Sharks Sunday afternoon in Shanghai.

Surprisingly, there are still lots of McGrady fans in China from his days playing with Yao in Houston. Many of them showed up at the game to pay homage.

December 2nd, 2012 - Tracy McGrady fans await his arrival in Shanghai to play Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks

December 2nd, 2012 - Tracy McGrady fans await his arrival in Shanghai to play Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks

On top of that, millions of basketball fans in China were looking forward to watching on TV Yao and McGrady meet up, hopefully on the court for all to see. But unfortunately it didn’t happen. The only solace was McGrady pointing to Yao up in the stands.

December 2nd, 2012 - Tracy McGrady points to Yao Ming in the stands

December 2nd, 2012 - Yao Ming and wife Ye Li watch the Shanghai Sharks play Tracy McGrady's Qingdao team

Yao and McGrady were scheduled to have dinner the night before, but it had to be postponed since Qingdao’s head coach arranged for a team meeting that conflicted with it.

But they were able to meet up Sunday evening after the game. No really good photos are available other than the one below with Yao, McGrady and other guys on The Bund after dinner.

December 2nd, 2012 - Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady on The Bund in Shanghai after Yao's Sharks played McGrady's Qingdao team

Although McGrady played well (23 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks), Qingdao lost their 4th game in a row, and are 0-4 on the season.

Fortunately for Yao, his Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks played their best game of the season, snapped their own winless streak, and now have a 1-3 record.

For more photos and coverage of the game and the events around it, click here.

McGrady now playing in China - receives rock star reception

Monday, November 5th, 2012
by John

If you hadn’t heard, Tracy McGrady has taken his talents to China since his career in the NBA is basically over. Specifically, McGrady signed with the Qingdao Double Star Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association.

He received an incredible welcome at the Qingdao airport about 10 days ago (see photo below). You never know in China if ‘fans’ like this are paid by a sponsor (Adidas in this case) to create a good photo-op and publicity for their brand. But regardless, it’s amazing that an athlete way past his prime can get this kind of turnout and adulation in China.

October 24, 2012 - a crowd waits for Tracy McGrady to arrive at the Qingdao airport in China

October 24th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady is greeted by lots of fans at the Qingdao airport

October 24th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady is greeted by lots of fans at the Qingdao airport

October 24th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady is greeted by lots of fans at the Qingdao airport

Click here for more photos of the greeting McGrady received at the airport.

He was then picked up by a Rolls Royce and taken to a 5-star hotel (part of his contract demands), where he was welcomed by traditional Chinese lion dancers.

October 24th, 2012 - a Rolls Royce takes Tracy McGrady from the Qingdao airport to his hotel

October 24th, 2012 - Chinese dancers greet Tracy McGrady at his 5-star hotel in Qingdao, China

Click here for more photos of the welcome that McGrady received at the hotel.

The next day, the chairman of the Quingdao Double Star Group held a welcome reception for McGrady, and gave him new pairs of special shoes produced by their company, one of the biggest low-cost athletic shoe companies in China.

October 25th, 2012 - The shoes that are gifted to Tracy McGray from the company that owns his new team in Qingdao, China

October 25th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady shows off the new shoes gifted to him by the company that owns his new team

Click here for more photos of McGrady at the reception.

McGrady’s stay in the hotel didn’t last long, though, since he decided to move to another 5-star hotel, the Quingdao Haitian Hotel, which is closer to the new stadium (pictured below).

The Qingdao arena in China where Tracy McGrady plays with his new team

McGrady soon practiced with his teammates for the first time.

October 26th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady stretches before his first practice with his new team in Qingdao, China

October 26th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady practices with his new team in Qingdao, China

October 26th, 2012 - Tracy McGrady practices with his new team in Qingdao, China

Click here for more photos of McGrady working out, and at the practice.

Some reporters mentioned that McGrady was much slower than he used to be, had lost much of his lift in his jump shots, and even missed an uncontested dunk with no players around him.

McGrady’s services don’t come cheap to Qingdao, though. Here are some of the details of his contract:

- In addition to the team paying for his 5-star hotel as his residence, he will be paid between US $800,000 to $1 million for one year, and the team will have an option to sign him after the first year.

- If the team makes the playoffs, he can’t leave. He has to continue playing.

- To prevent J.R. Smith-like incidents from happening, he will be penalized $10k for skipping a practice and $50k for skipping a game without legitimate reasons

- On road trips, he has to stay in the same hotel with his teammates that the team has arranged for them.

- He will receive an allowance for a couple of round-trip tickets to the U.S. to see his family, or his family wants to visit him in China on certain Chinese holidays.

Yao plays lots of golf & meets celebs at pro-am tournament

Thursday, October 25th, 2012
by John

A few days ago Yao played a ton of golf at the 2012 Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19-21st in Haikou, Hainan Island. Click here for a map of the location.

There were tons of photos taken of Yao at the tournament. The day before the tournament started, Yao met Michael Phelps at the practice range.

October 18th, 2012 - Yao Ming meets Michael Phelps at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19 to 21 in Haikou, Hainan Island

Yao also got some golf tips from China’s #1 golfer, Zhang Lianwei.

October 18th, 2012 - Yao Ming gets golf tips from Chinese golfer Zhang Lianwei at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19 to 21 in Haikou, Hainan Island

Yao also got some special treatment by getting a golf cart with the top removed since Yao is too tall to fit underneath the roof of a conventional cart. Below Yao’s wife Ye Li is driving the cart.

October 19th, 2012 - Yao Ming sits in a special golf cart at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19 to 21st in Haikou, Hainan Island

The next day, the tournament started and Yao met actor Ryan Reynolds.

October 19th, 2012 - Yao Ming meets actor Ryan Reynolds at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19 to 21 in Haikou, Hainan Island

Yao continued to play a couple of more days of golf at the tournament. Here are a couple of photos of Yao in action on the second and third day of the tournament, respectively.

October 20th, 2012 - Yao Ming swings a golf club at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19 to 21 in Haikou, Hainan Island

October 21st, 2012 - Yao Ming hits a shot out of the bunker at the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament held October 19 to 21 in Haikou, Hainan Island

Click here for more photos of Yao in action on the golf course.

American pro golfer Matt Kuchar and actor Andy Garcia won the pro-am team competition.

Thanks go to Raymond in the forum for posting these photos. More details from Raymond about Yao at the tournament start here.

Yao attends Clippers-Heat game in Shanghai [photos]

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
by John

On Sunday, Yao attended an NBA exhibition game in Shanghai between the Clippers and Heat. Yao greeted some of the players, like LeBron James

October 14th, 2012 - Yao Ming and LeBron James hug in Shanghai before the Clippers-Heat exhibition game

Shane Battier

October 14th, 2012 - Yao Ming and Shane Battier meet in Shanghai before the Clippers-Heat exhibition game

…and NBA legend Bill Russell

October 14th, 2012 -Yao Ming and Bill Russell meet before the Clippers-Heat exhibition game in Shanghai

At halftime, Yao was surprised with a gift from graffiti artist David Garibaldi, who painted an oil painting of Yao in the arena during the game. Garibaldi placed fourth in the “America’s Got Talent” show.

October 14th, 2012 - Yao Ming is awarded a portrait of himself at halftime of the Clippers-Heat game in Shanghai

Click here for more photos of Yao at the game.

Finally, at the beginning of the 4th quarter when both teams started playing their backups, the full capacity crowd of 18,000 chanted in unison Yao Ming’s name, pleading for him to come on to the court and play. In Yao’s typical understated style, he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled to the fans.