SHANGHAI (AP) — The NBA's version of the Ming Dynasty is done. After helping pro basketball gain a foothold in the world's most populous market, Chinese star Yao Ming has retired.
Yao made it official Wednesday, telling a packed news conference in his hometown that a series of foot and leg injuries forced him to end his playing career at the age of 30.
"I will formally end my career," said Yao, the 7-fooot-6 center who became a household name in China before starting his NBA career with the Houston Rockets as the top draft pick in 2002.
Yao played eight seasons in the NBA, but missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years.
"Today is an important day for me and holds a special meaning for both my basketball career and my future," Yao said in comments translated into English. "I had to leave the court since I suffered a stress fracture in my left foot for the third time at the end of last year. My past six months were an agonizing wait. I had been thinking (about my future) over and over. Today I am announcing a personal decision, ending my career as a basketball player and officially retire. But one door is closing and another one is opening."