By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
A few months after being reelected as president of the Chinese Basketball Association, Yao Ming stepped down, as announced Thursday.
Ming, 42, took over as CBA president in 2017 leading efforts to popularize the league further. Leaving his role as owner of the Shanghai Sharks was the necessary step to fully focus on the wider duties six years ago. His most recent reelection was confirmed in December.
The reason leading to his departure from the CBA is uncertain. However, the CBA deciding to eject both the Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons from the Playoffs amid allegations of match-fixing is likely connected to the resignation. Veteran sports journalist Xu Jicheng has been named as the new president. Meanwhile, Yao Ming remains on the helm of the Chinese Basketball Federation.
An injury-plagued career ended in 2011 after foot and ankle issues forced him to sit out many NBA games across the eight-year spell at the Houston Rockets. Ming split his playing days exclusively between his hometown Sharks and the Rockets. Besides becoming an eight-time NBA All-Star, his efforts were combined with China’s senior national team reaching the Quarterfinals of the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing. In 2016, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Celebration his contributions, the Rockets retired his #11 jersey in 2017.
The Yao Ming Phenomenon, especially through Ming’s storied career in the NBA, was among the main reasons for the growth of basketball in China. For now, extending similar efforts from an executive position comes to an end.
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