SHANGHAI, July 20 (Xinhua) -- For Yao Ming, it is not so regretful to say goodbye to basketball. He is quite looking forward to his new life without basketball.
The Houston Rockets' center announced his retirement from the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday at his hometown, raising a wave of predictions and expectation about his future.
"Basketball is only a part of my life. I won't reverse the sentence. Basketball is not the whole life," Yao told Xinhua after the press conference on his retirement.
"I'm well prepared for the day, as I said before. My parents told me 17 years ago that one day you will retire. No matter how good you are, no matter how long it takes, you'll get injured and walk away from basketball. They are right every time," he said.
His announcement on Wednesday was highly expected as the media had exposed his plan a week and a half ago, even though he had not said the word from his mouth.
"I won't be a handicapped person. Doctors have insured me. But the injury on my left foot is an obstacle that I cannot overcome if I choose to continue my basketball career," Yao said when he talked about his decision.
"My parents and my family wanted me to retire. They cared about my health. It's a hard decision at first, to stop a professional career of an athlete. But finally I made the choice."
Yao showed up to media with his parents, his wife and his 14-month-old daughter for the first time. For him, life is more about family, but not basketball now.
"I'll play with my daughter before she grows up. I don't know whether I can follow her step if she runs faster than me in the future."
Yao had said he didn't want his daughter to be a basketball player. During the news conference, he was asked by Daryl Morey, the General Manager of the Rockets, about finding another Yao. He answered,"You'd better deal with the lock-out first, then I'll talk about players."
But he has some words to his inherits.
"Concentrate on the warm-ups, build up your body, and you'll be better prepared to deal with injuries," Yao said. "I won't say I was not doing well on those things. But players like me, Wang Zhizhi, Menk Bateer. We are the first generation that play abroad. We were not well prepared."
Life after retiring is not going to be lazy and easy, Yao said. In some way, life will be more busy than his day on the court.
He used 11 days to prepare for the news gala. He answered questions to the media for 45 minutes on the conference before he did three interviews in two hours after that.
"I still have arrangements after our talks," Yao told Xinhua.
"I'm still learning. No matter what I'm going to do after retiring, I need to study. I won't tell you which class I'm going to take, but I'm sure going to begin my study soon if I want to be a successful retired athlete."
He is a successful socialist already, even before his retirement. He founded his own Yao Foundation three years ago. He knows every school his foundation assisted, every pent that had been spent, just like he did on basketball.
"People say I could be a member of the Hall of Fame. This is not a poll. The Hall of Fame person must be a great athlete, on the court or off the court. It's a big honor."