'Ambassador' just newest job for Yao Ming
Updated: 2013-02-17 11:27
In addition to building 14 schools mainly in Western China so far, the foundation has recruited more than 50 volunteer university professors to help train teachers and coaches.
"We teach kids to play basketball and have other after-school programs," said Yao Ming. "It may surprise you, but a lot of Chinese don't know all about basketball."
He said that before coming to Houston, he imagined it as a city of astronauts and scientists that happened to have a basketball team. "I thought there must be a lot of scientists to put a man on the moon," he said.
In his post-Rockets life, Yao Ming is also known to speak out against killing shark for their fins, as is done to make shark-fin soup, Foster said.
Yao Ming was born in 1980 to tall parents who both played professional basketball, but he said he was never pressured to play.
He began playing basketball at the age of 9 because he was drawn to the sport.
Of all the things Yao is involved in now, he said it is his family that is most important to him. "I have a daughter. Everything takes a back seat to my family," he said. "My wife runs the house."
He said he's glad to have Houston and Shanghai as home bases. "When I was in Houston, I missed Shanghai. When I'm in Shanghai, I miss Houston," he said.
Asked about the pressure of his injury-plagued last years with the Rockets, Yao was philosophical. "My injury happened. I can't change it. I had to accept it," he said. "But when a door shuts, always a window opens."
Yao Ming named Houston Goodwill Ambassador
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