Yao Ming, a former star for the Houston Rockets, has resigned as president of China’s struggling national basketball league.
Yao Ming, a former star for the Houston Rockets, has left his post as commissioner of China’s struggling national basketball league.
Eight-time NBA All-Star Yao had been in charge of the top 20-team Chinese Basketball Association Management Company’s commercialization efforts ever since he was hired in 2017.
A message thanking Yao for his service was posted on the CBA website. Only that the board of directors had decided it was time for new leadership was mentioned as the reason for Yao’s departure.
Yao was selected first overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA Draft, making him one of the first Chinese athletes to gain international recognition. The NBA center with a height of 2.29 meters (7 feet 6 inches) retired in 2011 due to chronic injuries.
The league has recently been the subject of accusations of corruption. The Jiangsu Dragons and Shanghai Sharks were two teams that were kicked out of the league finals last month after it was determined that they had engaged in unsportsmanlike conduct following a string of errors that led to the Sharks’ comeback victory.
Following a quick investigation and swift punishments for both teams due to the outcome’s suspicions, the outcome was deemed suspicious. Each team’s managers and coaching staff have been banned from the league for a maximum of five years.
Despite attracting foreign players and corporate sponsorships, China’s basketball and football leagues are hindered by shaky ownership structures and government interference. For taking bribes and other types of corruption, some officials are currently being investigated.
Veteran sports journalist Xu Jicheng, who served on the committees responsible for managing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Winter Games last year, will take over for Yao.
Because of Yao’s legendary NBA career, basketball continues to be incredibly popular in China. This is true despite a year-long ban on NBA games being broadcast in the nation following comments made by a team executive that Beijing found offensive and supported Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.