NBA and Yao courting further success
Updated: 2013-08-20 19:49
By Sun Xiaochen (chinadaily.com.cn)
Yao Ming understands the importance of teamwork.
The 2.26-meter center appreciates the efforts of others that often led to him scoring. Say, a Tracy McGrady pass after a pick-and-roll or Chuck Hayes aggressively fending off opponents for Yao to grab a rebound.
Yao, founder of the Yao Foundation and the organizer of a charitable event in the hothouse arena of Western Anhui University last week knows there is no me in team.
The event at the Yao Foundation Primary School Basketball Season finale was enjoyed by more than 40,000 Hope School students.
But an even greater reason to celebrate might be the backing of the NBA.
In 2012, NBA China and Yao announced a comprehensive partnership to bolster youth basketball development in China.
Supported by NBA Cares, the Yao Foundation launched the inaugural Hope School Basketball Season in 2012 in 42 Hope Schools around China.
It gave underprivileged children the chance to experience the joy of basketball and the values of sportsmanship. In 2013, the Yao Foundation Hope School Basketball Season expanded to 79 Hopes Schools with the participation of more than 40,000 children.
"Yao's star power is as bright as it has ever been, especially given all the things he has committed to doing off the court," said NBA China CEO David Shoemaker, who attended the finale in Anhui.
"We will continue to work with Yao on more initiatives because I believe we are just scratching the surface."
Alongside the Hope School Basketball Season, NBA China supported the Yao Foundation Charity Game 2013 featuring seven NBA players on July 5.
The league also hosted the first-ever interactive fan event, the NBA Cares - Yao Foundation Charity Carnival, in the square outside the MasterCard Center on game day in Beijing.
Yao also hosted the NBA Nation FIT clinic for 60 unprivileged students together with Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls in Shanghai a few days later.
"Social responsibility is the core value of the NBA. Since 2004, we've participated in over 100 community outreach initiatives here in China through a broad range of activities from education and fitness to youth development," said Shoemaker.
Yao echoed Shoemaker, saying NBA support is crucial to his charity work.
"I actually started my partnership with the NBA in 2002 when I joined the NBA as a player," said Yao in July.
"Commissioner Stern and the entire NBA are very supportive of our charity efforts, including the charity game and the Hope School Basketball season. I want to thank the NBA for their great support."
The partnership with Yao demonstrates the NBA's rich history and long-term commitment to basketball development in China.
NBA first hosted the Chinese national team in 1985 and is currently in the fourth year of a joint coaching program with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) which has trained more than 600 coaches.
In September 2011, the CBA Dongguan Basketball School – an NBA Training Center was launched for elite players aged from 12 to 17. Since then, the school has trained over 1,000 youth players and coaches.
"Our partnership with Yao complements an already broad array of things that we've been doing with the GAS (General Administration of Sport of China), CBA and local sports bureaus in order to continue to grow the game of basketball," said Shoemaker.
"We believe strongly in the work we are doing at the grassroots level and developing the game so that more and more kids want to bounce the ball and shoot a hoop at the youngest level. That's a priority for us and I believe that is the key for making China a great basketball nation."