Yao Ming responds to the question: when his successor will emerge?

(Xinhua) 11:03, February 26, 2024

MACAO, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- When asked about the potential emergence of the next Yao Ming, the former basketball legend shared his insights at the GBA International Sports Business Summit held here on Friday.

"Sometimes I feel that people should not expect another Yao Ming because I have many unique conditions," Yao Ming explained. "Not all children possess such conditions. I grew up in a sports family, my parents were professional athletes, I was discovered at a young age, started training early, and also received some preferential resources. To some extent, this is not replicable."

"Personally, instead of expecting an irreplicable model, I prefer to find one that can be replicated," he said. "Can we expect the next Jeremy Lin? I know Jeremy Lin grew up in the United States, so can we expect to see more players like Zhao Jiwei, Guo Ailun, Liu Wei, Guo Shiqiang, and Hu Weidong appearing soon? Perhaps they have more connections with ordinary families. If there are more players like this, our basketball level, league quality, and basketball market will be even better," Yao said.

Transitioning from his role as a player to the chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association, Yao Ming discussed the broader societal role of basketball. "If we regard society as a family, then sports, including basketball, are like toys we place in our home. For most fans, basketball is a part of life. As administrators, we need to consider what kind of experience basketball and the league can bring to fans, whether they can find a sense of belonging here, and whether they can connect with the stars and fans."

Reflecting on the state of Chinese basketball, Yao Ming acknowledged its current standing. "The mass participation in Chinese basketball is very high now. We have seen the Village Basketball Competition of China, known as 'CunBA', school basketball, and multiple professional teams all established."

However, Yao Ming believes there is room for improvement. "As for the Chinese Basketball Association, can we have enough output to be recognized by society? The 2025 CBA league will celebrate its 30th anniversary. It now receives support from so many companies, which is actually the contribution of several generations to society, gaining recognition and thus receiving returns. So can we provide more social products to gain more recognition from partners and help us together in various aspects, including events and training? That's what I hope to see," Yao added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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