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Yao and NBA team up for Yao’s bi-annual charity game in China

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
by John

As you probably know, the NBA was in China last week and this weekend as the Clippers and Heat played an exhibition game in Beijing last Thursday, and played another game in Shanghai on Sunday.

Before Sunday’s game in a press conference with NBA commissioner David Stern and Yao Ming, Stern announced the NBA will be supporting Yao’s bi-annual Foundation charity game in China starting the summer of 2013. [Note: this story has been updated to reflect a bi-annual game, not an annual one as previously reported].

October 14th, 2012 - Yao Ming and David Stern hold a press conference in Shanghai

This is great news since a game wasn’t played this summer because of the conflict with the Olympic games in London, and Yao’s career-ending injuries and retirement impacted plans for a game in 2011.

The NBA also announced they have agreed to help players and coaches in the Chinese Basketball Association for the next 3 years.

This past summer, the NBA announced it will work in China with the Yao Ming Foundation on a broad and comprehensive partnership to further basketball participation, develop youth basketball, promote cultural exchange and conduct social responsibility programs in China. In addition, Yao will collaborate with the league to launch basketball and social development programs for Chinese youth through NBA Cares and the Yao Foundation for communities in need.

If you’re interested, here’s the video of the press conference where Stern and Yao talk about the benefits of the NBA working with Yao and basketball in China. Here are more photos from the press conference.

Yao’s Sharks play UCLA in Shanghai [pics]

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
by John

On Tuesday night, the UCLA men’s basketball team played Yao’s Shanghai Sharks on the last stop of their tour of China over the past week.

August 28th, 2012 - The UCLA Spirt Team performs for the crowd in Shanghai during a game between the Sharks and Bruins

August 28th, 2012 - The UCLA Bruins play against the Shanghai Sharks in Shanghai

Before the game, Yao was introduced to the crowd.

August 28th, 2012 - Yao Ming enters the UCLA-Shanghai Sharks game

The top sportsbook reviews probably didn’t have odds on the game because it was an exhibition game, but UCLA won 92-63 in a game that was closer than what the final score indicates.

The Sharks played without key starters, and were able to hang close into the fourth quarter before UCLA made defensive stops to pull away on a 19-2 run.

UCLA coach Ben Howland said after the game, “They were making a good run. They were a good team, good coaching.”

Click here for more photos from the game.

You can also find more photos from the game on the UCLA Men’s basketball team Facebook photo album for the game right here.

Yao flies in coach seat (pic) to basketball camp in Sichuan

Saturday, August 25th, 2012
by John

You would think after Yao’s exhausting trip to Africa was over, he would come back home and relax a bit. Not for Yao. He continued his very busy schedule.

Right after landing in Hong Kong, he jumped on an economy flight to Leshan of Sichuan. Yes…economy.

Check out a photo that someone took of Yao in a coach seat! (He had to take another flight on which business and first class seats were sold out).

August 23rd, 2012 - Yao Ming sits in a coach seat from Hong Kong to Sichuan

Yao only had 4 hours’ sleep after arriving back in China from Africa. He arrived in Leshan of Sichuan at 9:00am to checkout his Yao Foundation Project Hope Primary School basketball camp and league for its inaugural season. Below are some pics of Yao checking it all out.

August 24th, 2012 - Yao Ming visits a basketball camp in Sichuan

August 24th, 2012 - Yao Ming watches basketball players at a basketball camp in Sichuan

August 24th, 2012 - Yao Ming poses with children at a basketball camp in Sichuan

August 24th, 2012 - Yao Ming shakes hands at a basketball camp in Sichuan

Click here for more photos of Yao at the basketball camp.

Later that evening, Yao and Los Angeles Clipper Caron Butler attended a performance of a variety show of the participating students {Butler is involved with Yao and the NBA in the basketball camp as well).

August 24th, 2012 - Yao Ming watches a performance at a primary school with LA Clipper Caron Butler

Later Yao came on stage and read the names of 27 students whose birthdays are in the month of August. Then he gave them all birthday presents, and even led the audience to sing “Happy Birthday.”

August 24th, 2012 - Yao Ming gets on stage at the performance of a primary school in Sichuan

Click here for more photos from the students’ performance.

The next day, Yao and Caron were head coaches for an exhibition game between two teams formed from the 400 students who participated in the camp.

August 25th, 2012 - Yao Ming coaches a kids' All-Star basketball game at his basketball camp

August 25th, 2012 - Yao Ming coaches a kids' All-Star basketball game at his basketball camp

Click here for more photos of Yao coaching at the camp. Here’s an article with more information about Yao’s involvement with the camp.

Yao likes ice skating and golf

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
by John

About 8 days ago Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li attended “Artistry on Ice” featuring some of the world’s top figure skaters at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. Sitting with them were the TV-movie star couple Deng Chao and Sun Li.

June 17th, 2012 - Yao Ming and wife Ye Li with celebrity couple Deng Chao and Sun Li

Click here for more photos of Yao at the “Artistry on Ice” event.

After the show, Yao and Ye Li met with Jeffey Buttle and Joannie Rochette, Olympic medalists and World Champions from Canada. Look how small they look!

June 17th, 2012 - Yao Ming and wife Ye Li with Canadian figure skaters

On June 20th, Yao appeared in a press conference to announce he will be part of Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament in October at the Mission Hills golf course in Haikou of Hainan Island.

Yao will be the Charity Ambassador for the 2nd bi-annual tournament, which will benefit the Yao Ming Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The tournament was first staged in 2010 and has already become one of the region`s leading lifestyle and entertainment events.

June 20th, 2012 - Yao Ming at a presser to announce a celebrit-pro am golf tournament in October

June 20th, 2012 - Yao Ming at a presser to announce a celebrit-pro am golf tournament in October

At the press conference, Yao said he has become addicted to golf.

“I am a totally fresh hand in golf and just began to learn how to play it. Golf is a good experience, and it brings back fond memories of when I was strong-minded and determined to go on the path when I started to learn basketball in my childhood.”

Yao also said he hopes golf will help him keep fit since he has been struggling to control his weight since retirement.

“If golf proves useful in weight control, I will persist with it,” he said.

This year’s 2012 Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am, like the inaugural one, will feature many famous professionals, celebrities and movie stars from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the world.

Joining Yao will be Brazilian football superstar Ronaldo, Chinese gymnast and international businessman Li Ning, former world number one snooker player Stephen Hendry and past Masters champion Ian Woosnam.

Celebrities include famous film directors Feng Xiaogang and He Ping, film actors Wang Zhiwen, Chen Tao-ming, Zhang Guoli, Sun Nan, Leon Lai, Coco Lee, Charlie Young, Simon Yam and Michelle Chen. More celebrities will be announced later.

The professional golfers who will play will compete for a prize purse of $1 million.

Click here for more photos and information from the press conference.

Update on Yao over the past couple of weeks

Friday, June 15th, 2012
by John

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Yao since our last update, so here’s a summary of what he has been doing since then (thanks to Raymond for the summaries):

Yao Ming and Liu Xiang appeared at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Shanghai Municipal amateur public competition on June 10.

June 10th, 2012 - Yao Ming at the opening ceremony of the of the inaugural Shanghai Municipal amateur public competition

The purpose of the competition is to raise awareness on the importance of physical fitness, so the Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau will organize Shanghai’s inaugural amateur public sports competition for all Shanghai residents, as well as tourists and ex-pats working and living in Shanghai to participate.

The event will last for 5 months, starting June 10th all the way through November 17, and apart from basketball, football, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, and swimming competitions, it will feature a range of demonstrations, from body-building to more traditional Chinese sports such as martial arts.

Around June 6th, Yao Ming’s Shanghai MAXXIS Sharks officially called off a trip to The Philippines for so-called “goodwill games” amidst a tense Chinese-Filipino territorial dispute.

On June 9th, Yao Ming went to Linshu of Shandong to donate RMB 1.5M for the 14th Yao Foundation Project Hope Primary School.

Yao took a late evening flight to fly Qingdao from Shanghai on June 8, and had to travel by car for 3 to 4 hours to arrive in Linshu.

This will be the very first Yao Foundation Project Hope Primary School in East China. The first thirteen Yao Foundation Project Hope primary schools were in the Southwest provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Qinghai.

June 9th, 2012 - Yao Ming at the 14th school to benefit from a Yao Foundation donation and involvement

The RMB 1.5 million will be used to refurbish and build new school complex and facilities at an old school, the Taoyuan Elementary School founded in 1985. The Taoyuan Elementary School currently has six classes, 350 students, and 16 teachers.

After the refurbishment and expansion, it is expected the new school will be able to educate more than 700 students, and will become much larger with new sports facilities and equipment.

Yao Ming’s 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon won a silver medal at the world’s most authoritative and prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in London.

President and Director of Winemaking Tom Hinde stated, “This is not an easy competition, and the best wines from around the world are showcased. To win a silver medal for our inaugural vintage confirms our dedication to producing superior wines that are a true representation of Napa Valley quality.”

The Decanter World Wine Awards is the world’s leading wine competition. The competition is well known for its rigorous judging process, which has led to the Decanter World Wine Awards becoming the most trusted and prestigious source of wine recommendations for wine lovers worldwide. This year, over 200 judges from around the world assessed 14,119 wines from 47 countries, the largest entry ever for the Decanter World Wine Awards. The judging panel consisted of wine merchants, sommeliers, journalists and authors, including 54 Masters of Wine and 11 Master Sommeliers.

The 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards were announced on May 22, 2012 at The London International Wine Fair.

Yao video interview with Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
by John

Check out this video with Yao posted yesterday where he talks about his busy life in retirement, including his involvement with conservation efforts…

For more information on the Yao Foundation and its new conservation initiatives, click here.

Big Yao to come out with big photo book (35 lbs!)

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
by John

You may be familiar with those exclusive, big coffee table books that feature celebrities like Michael Jackson, etc., teams like Manchester United and the Ferrari Formula One team, and sports like Major League Baseball.

Yesterday it was announced there will be a similar book about Yao, called Yao Ming Opus, published by Opus Media Group UK, the publishers that have produced the aforementioned books, and Time Media Publishing and Media, a Chinese company based in Anhui province.

May 9th, 2012 - What the Yao Ming Opus book will look like when it's published

According to China Daily, the book will boast a large range of photos taken during Yao’s teenage years, his professional career and life after basketball, with both English and Chinese text.

The photos were provided by Yao or purchased from news agencies, and also include new pictures taken by the photographers of the two companies. The text will be completed by a team of five writers. The book is expected to weigh 16 kg (35 pounds), and is scheduled to be published next year.

Opus’ CEO, Karl Fowler, said, “We could not think of a more sincere, unique and exciting story to tell, using great photographs and great writing to reveal his story not just in China, but internationally.”

Yao said that when he first saw an Opus publication he thought it was like a comic book. But as he turned the pages he realized the book was something people should take seriously.

“Although we live in a digital age, a photo can capture and keep every precious moment forever and will not fade as time goes by,” he said.

Yao also stated, “I spent many hours looking through my Manchester United Opus and what I found fascinating was the way in which photography presented in this way illustrated the history so well. I am so very humbled that Opus and Time are looking to share my own special moments and thoughts in a similar unique manner.”

On Wednesday in Shanghai, Yao signed a signature page that will be placed in copy number one of Yao Ming Opus. Opus will auction that copy next year and donate the proceeds to the Yao Foundation.

May 9th, 2012 - Yao Ming signs the first cover of Yao Ming Opus

May 9th, 2012 - Yao Ming poses with the cover of the first Yao Ming Opus book to be published later

For more photos from the signing ceremony and more news about the project, click here.

Fans can register here their interest in Yao Ming Opus.

Yao still ranked in top 10 of Forbes China Top 100 Celebrities list

Saturday, May 5th, 2012
by John

Even after a year in retirement, Yao is still ranking high on Forbes’ (China) annual Top 100 celebrity list.

The list is compiled by looking at several variables, like earnings and buzz (in newspapers, Internet, TV and magazines). Yao ranked #8 overall, and #9 in earnings.

Li Na is ranked as the top athlete, helped by her winning the 2011 French Open.

early May 2012: Tennis player Li Na - No. 5 on Forbes China Top 100 Celebrities list

Jay Chou ranked as the #1 celebrity overall.

early May, 2012: Jay Chou was ranked #1 in Forbes China Top 100 Celebrity List

Click here for a list and photos of the Top 10.

Yao’s appearance in Beijing still draws large crowds

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
by John

Even after retiring from basketball 10 months ago, Yao Ming still gets rock star attention in China.

On Friday in Beijing, Yao showed up at a university, and many of the students there skipped their classes and followed him around, taking photos and posting them on their microblogs.

April 19th, 2012 - Yao MIng draws a crowd at a university in Beijing

April 19th, 2012 - Yao MIng draws a crowd at a university in Beijing

Yao visited the China Youth University for Political Sciences in Beijing to announce his Foundation’s launch of the inaugural Project Hope Primary School Basketball League season.

This will be the first ever nationwide basketball league for 47 Project Hope primary schools (including the 6 Yao Foundation Project Hope Primary Schools that the Yao Foundation had built in the past 4 years, with 7 more in various construction/refurbishment stage).

In his speech, Yao said he wished through this project that it will provide — through basketball — that poor kids in some of the backward cities and provinces can participate and get new opportunities for growth and development.

Click here for more photos and information from the announcement.

Friday also happened to be the 10th anniversary of Yao’s Shanghai Sharks winning the China Basketball Association championship in a game where Yao scored 44 points on 21-of-21 shooting from the floor, grabbed 21 rebounds, and blocked 7 shots. No wonder Yao is still so admired in China.

Yao cheers on Chinese archers at World Cup event

Monday, April 16th, 2012
by John

This weekend Yao attended the Archery World Cup (“Stage 1”) in Shanghai to cheer on the Chinese athletes participating in the competition. Below, Yao talks with Tom Dielen, the World Archery Secretary General.

April 14th, 2012 - Yao Ming attends the World Archery Cup in Shanghai

Unfortunately for China, they only won one silver medal in the female individual event, and 2 bronze medals in the women’s and mixed (men and women) team events.

As usual, the South Korean women dominated the team and individual events. Chinese Taipei, however, surprisingly beat Japan to win the gold medal for the mixed team event.

Brady Ellison of the USA won the men’s individual event, while Ki Bo Bae of South Korea, arguably the best female archer in the world currently, won the female individual competition. Both Brady Ellison and Ki Bo Bae also led the USA men and South Korean women to win gold medals for the men’s and women’s team event.

April 14th, 2012 - Archers at the World Archery Cup in Shanghai, China

April 14th, 2012 - American archers at the World Archery Cup in Shanghai, China
It’s easy to tell what country this team is from!

Click here for more photos from the event.