Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, April 20, 2002
Shanghai Sharks Put Yao Ming on NBA Draft
The Shanghai Sharks club officially announced the availability of Yao Ming for the June draft of America's National Basketball Association (NBA) Friday night, and said the club would try its best to help Yao go to play in the NBA.
The Shanghai Sharks club officially announced the availability of Yao Ming for the June draft of America's National Basketball Association (NBA) Friday (April 19) night, and said the club would try its best to help Yao go to play in the NBA.
The Sharks won the title of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for the first time on Friday night after beating defending champion Bayi Rockets 3-1 in the finals.
Club director Bai Li said in an after-game programm lively showed towards Shanghai, "Yao Ming opened the door to the NBA and he deserved the chance to play there. The club and the Chinese Basketball Management Center allow him to go to the NBA this season."
Yao, 2.25-meter high (or 7-6 feet) and 115-kilogram weight (or 255 pounds), is the last and best one of the three Chinese giant centers who was know as the Walking Great Wall, which raised the eyebrows of the world in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Shanghai Shark Wins Its First CBA Title
The other two centers of the trio are playing in NBA now, with Wang Zhizhi in Dallas Mavericks who made the palyoffs and Menk Bateer in Denver Nuggests.
The 21-year-old Yao, who will turn to 22 in September, will be one of the hottest pick in June's draft conference as several NBA teams had sent scouts to Shanghai during the regular season and playoffs of CBA.
"We want him to go to a team that has chance to play in the playoffs in the NBA in two or three seasons. I think that will be good for his development," said Li Yaomin, general manager of the club of Sharks.
"But, you know, we can't choose a team for Yao." Li added.
"The club hopes to get some good American players if Yao goes away. And it will be better if the team which chooses Yao will help us to set up a training base in America, so we can send our coaches and players there every year. We also hope some the NBA teams like to play matches in Shanghai," said Li Yaomin.
Yao could have gone to America in 2000 when he was 19 but his parent thought he was too young then for the NBA game.
Last year, Yao denied the chance because he wanted to win the title for his hometown in Shanghai. His contract with the Sharks has expired as the 2001-2002 season has been called to an end.
Yao said he is ready to go to the NBA: "Don't worry about me. I think everything will go smoothly," Yao said late in the night in Ningbo.