SHANGHAI, July 20 (Xinhua) -- NBA Commissioner David Stern and star players including Kobe Bryant have heaped praise on Chinese Yao Ming, who announced to retire from basketball on Wednesday.
David Stern, NBA Commissioner:
"His dominant play and endearing demeanor along with his extensive humanitarian efforts have made him an international fan favorite and provided an extraordinary bridge between basketball fans in the United States and China.
"I want to congratulate him on his distinguished playing career and wish him success as he transitions into the next phase of his life.
"We look forward to working with Yao in continuing the growth of the game of basketball in China to which he has already contributed so much."
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers player:
"His contributions to the NBA cannot be overstated. He is such a huge man and on top of that, he is a phenomenal player
"We were talking about his injuries but when he was playing and he was healthy he was dominant in the NBA."
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder player:
"Tough, man, tough to see a great player and a great competitor like Yao Ming leave the game after being injured a few years.
"As a player, you come into the league, the first thing somebody asks you is what you want to do when you get here, and a lot of players say, 'I want to dunk over Yao Ming,' so you can tell how much impact he has in the game.
"He comes in, he works everyday and you can tell that he's never in trouble and he sets such a good example for the players coming into the league.
"It was exciting to watch such a tall guy but that can shoot the basketball and put so much pressure on your defense by playing down low, and also his defense, too.
"He does so much for the game and he does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
"It was an honor to play the same court as him. He's so dominant in the game and he changed the game by him just running up and down the floor."
Shaquille O'Neal, Basketball Hall of Famer
"We are going to miss you, bro. You're one of the greatest players to ever come out of China."