Thu, July 21, 2011
Sports > Basketball > Yao Ming announces retirement

Full transcript of Yao Ming's statement

2011-07-21 02:33:47 GMT2011-07-21 10:33:47(Beijing Time)  China Daily

Hello everyone, leaders, guests, and friends from news media, good afternoon, and thanks for coming.

Today is an important day for me. For myself, my basketball career and the personal growth in the future, it has a particular meaning.

At the end of last year I broke my left foot for a third time. I had to leave the basketball court, and spent the last half of the year waiting, just as many of those who care about me. During that period, I struggled a lot in my heart and thought a lot. Now I am going to announce a personal decision: I am going to end my career as a basketball player and officially retire.

Looking back on the past and right into the future, I am deeply grateful.

First I'd like to thank basketball. This great sport has brought joys to so many people, including me. I had my first basketball when I was four. I entered the Sports School of Xuhui District of Shanghai when I was nine and entered the Shanghai Basketball Youth Team at 14. At 16, I began playing for Shanghai Basketball Team, wearing my father's number.

I inherited my family's tradition by playing basketball. I feel so proud every time I look into the eyes of my parents, who are proud of me.

I feel very honored to have the opportunity to win the CBA title in 2002 with Shanghai Shark teammates, which has linked us all to this city behind.

Basketball also led me on a greater stage when I entered NBA that year. I could play with all I had.

What's more, I feel thankful that I had the opportunity to fight together with the national team for 10 years, which is many young players' dream, and through which I got to know and married my beloved woman, and made a happy family and obtained the happiness of my life.

All of these are brought by my love, basketball. I want to thank basketball.

I would also like to thank life. No matter my favorite basketball or something else, they are all parts of the life. Life is like a guide. When you sincerely follow it, it will open one and another door for you and the world outside of them is so different and exciting. Today, I retired. The door of basketball is closed, but another door has just opened which will lead me to a new life waiting for me to experience.

I will continue to participate in social welfare in the future. Yao Fund is my personal fund, which has been established for three years. And in the coming future, I will take this as the basis and call on more people to get involved in charity and help more people. And at the same time, I wish to know more friends here and to do some things together with you.

I believe the exchanges with all of you will teach me more things that will also enrich my life and help me to start from Shanghai to the whole country, from China to the whole world, so I’ll thank life. And in the coming future, to take it seriously will be the best reward to life.

At last, I want to thank my family and all my friends. I have a very long name list here, but for time limit, I can only mention some of you, please forgive me.

Firstly I want to thank my family member, parents, who are the enlightenment to me, Ye Li is also the best listener. I also want to thank my coaches, who have witnessed every step of my growth, including my mentor, all coaches in Shanghai Sharks, and the coaches in national team, in Rockets, and former manager.

I also want to thank all leaders, especially State General Administration of Sports, especially State General Administration of Sports, Shanghai Basketball Association, Shanghai Sports Bureau, Shanghai Wenguang Group and leaders from Shanghai Sharks. Their care, encouragement always drives me to progress and to get today’s achievement.

“I also want to thank the NBA and the Houston Rockets manager. Thanks for their presence, and thank you Daryl Morey. Their support and understanding helped me overcome the cultural and language barriers, enabling me to stand firm on the world’s best basketball team.”

I’d like to extend my gratitude to my teammates and opponents. First of all, Liu Wei. We have grown up together as teammates, and this will be the most precious experience in my life. Wang Zhizhi and Shaquille O'Neal, it is your presence that keep me endeavoring to catch up to you and you are always my targets. Without you two, I could not make such an achievement. I also want to say thanks to Fan Bin, my mentor on the national team and to Shen Wei, Li Nan, Mengke Bateer, Yi Jianlian and all my teammates at Xuhui District Amateur Sports School, Shanghai Youth Team, Shanghai Sharks, Houston Rockets, National Youth Team and the National Team, to my opponents in the games of CBA and NBA. It was indeed memorable days to play with you.

I also want to thank “Yao’s team” (Yao Ming’s business planning team) for all you have done for me over the years and I will never forget it.

I want to take this opportunity to express my thanks to friends from the media, to my sponsors and partners, from whom I have learned a lot, and to my dear fans, whether you like me or not, whether you are Chinese or foreigners. The care from all of you gives me enough confidence and your criticism helps me improve myself.

All of you, whether I have mentioned above or not, will be in my heart. In a word, I want to say thank you to my family and friends for your company all these years. I will continue to be the best I can be and continue to be with you all.

Yao Ming will always be with you, my dear friends, thank you !

Finally, I will express my gratitude to the great and progressive era, in which I have a chance to make my dream come true and show my value. Once I said when my basketball career ended, it was just a comma rather than a full stop. Now the day comes, but I don’t leave basketball, my life is still continuing. I am still myself, Yao Ming. There are a lot of things for me to do and it is far too early to say goodbye.

I wish you all a healthy and happy life. I wish my hometown Shanghai, second hometown Houston, my great motherland and I wish basketball a bright future.

Thank you very much!

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