SHANGHAI, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Yao Ming said he would continue charity work as he formally announced his retirement from basketball here on Wednesday.
"I will keep devoting myself to social charity work," said the 31-year-old NBA All Star center at a press conference held at Kerry Hotel here in Pudong, Shanghai.
"Yao Foundation, launched three years ago, is a project named after me. I promise here that it will keep going on," said Yao.
Yao foundation has built 16 basketball courts last July and has donated millions of dollars to build schools around China.
"With a well-functioned Yao Foundation, I'll try to promote charity work not only in my circle of friends but also for the whole society, to help more people," said Yao, a Shanghai native.
"I'm very thankful for what life has taught me...To live a better life is the best way to say thanks, I think," Yao added.
The most popular basketball player in China has dedicated himself to awakening the public's awareness of social welfare and green issues.
When a deadly earthquake hit China's Sichuan Province, Yao donated two million yuan to victims and helped to raise money for quake relief efforts.
He acts as the Goodwill Ambassador of the international wildlife conservation organization "WildAid".
And he represents China's AIDS Prevention Campaign and the NBA's "Basketball Without Borders" and "Read to Achieve" programs.
Also, Yao promotes bone marrow donation and has offered to donate his own marrow if his sample is in need.