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Yao Ming, Big Shoes to Fill


  Wherever Yao Ming goes, it’s hard for the 226-centimeter- tall athlete not to draw focus. It came as no surprise that he attracted the spotlight at the first session of the 12th CPPCC (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference) National Committee, which Savvy Team Owner

  After his retirement, Yao found more time to manage the Shanghai Sharks Basketball Team. After Yao acquired the controlling share of the team, he introduced two foreign players: one was an nba bench warmer and the other hadn’t even played in the NBA. Other CBA (China Basketball Association) clubs were spending fortunes on foreign players. However, Yao’s management style is to develop gradually and keep costs under control. In 2011, Shanghai ranked 6th out of 16 teams in league, but its costs were among the lowest.

  Yao seldom sets goals for the team or offers monetary incentives. He wants to build a professional atmosphere and relieve players’ anxieties about success and money.

  “A team draws energy from an advanced management system, which in turn can attract more good players, and an excellent training system can develop good players,” said Yao. He hopes to refine the Shanghai Sharks into an open-minded team and “ultimately a world-class team.”

  Having grown up in China’s state-run sports system and participated in many world-class athletic events, Yao gained deep understanding of sports culture.

  “The elementary step of sports is to build a strong body,” he explains. “But the advanced step is to build a strong will. Actually, sports and education share a mutual purpose, which is to enlighten and instill wisdom.” Immersed in American culture for eight years, Yao discovered that Chinese and American people hold different attitudes towards the game. “In the U.S., basketball is just one part of life. The sport is not as important as it is in China.”

  Injecting Warmth

  On August 12, 2012, Yao Ming flew to Kenya soon after he finished serving as a commentator at the London Olympic Games. In Kenya he served as a volunteer for WildAid, which was filming an antipoaching documentary. On August 24, Yao flew from Africa back to China to participate in Hope Primary School Basketball Season launched by Yao Fund in Leshan City, Sichuan Province.

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