Yao Ming about his values and NBA career in his own words

Yao_Ming_scoreEx-NBA center Yao Ming has published an article in China.com.cn, which was translated by Li Jingrong.

Yao played 8 years in the NBA – all for the Houston Rockets. He holds career averages of 19 points per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, and 1.9 blocks per game.

Yao appeared in 486 NBA games (476 started), and was selected to the NBA All-Star team 8 times.

At the recently held Legends Brunch during annual NBA All-Star weekend, Yao was named “Ambassador of the Year”.

Below is the copy of Yao’s article.


Before coming to Beijing for the annual session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (Yao Ming is a member of this political advisory body’s National Committee – Editor), I went back to Houston to attend an NBA all-stars weekend event.

My friends and old fans welcomed me just as warmly as in the past. The locals really treated me as if I had never left. It’s like my home away from home.

How did a person like me, who had no American cultural background at all, survive and adapt to their society? My answer is that the Chinese culture has taught me to be inclusive, understanding and easy to communicate with.

We are living in a time of globalization. Without China’s opening up and without the NBA’s globalized presence, I couldn’t have become the NBA’s first overall pick. While cultural differences and misunderstandings exist, communication and understanding become particularly important.

Speaking of my life in the U.S., I want to stress the importance of mutual respect. Personal exchange and understanding are based on mutual respect. To be respected, you must become stronger through painstaking efforts to improve yourself.

This sense is part of the innate nature of Chinese people, because Chinese culture encourages people to keep forging ahead, advance bravely, and strive for self-improvement.

I also pay attention to follow a strict moral compass. There is very little cultural difference between high-quality, well-educated people. Being subject to intense public scrutiny, I am very strict with myself and try to do my best in everything. Having been brought up in a culture that takes morality as its core value, my moral awareness just comes naturally.

My other point is on the importance of social responsibilities. Participation in charitable and public welfare activities has become a kind of lifestyle in many countries. Respect for the old and care for the young, and helping people in need are traditional virtues of Chinese culture, too.

When I was playing in the NBA, I participated in Basketball Without Borders activities, encouraging poor American children to do reading and study. Meanwhile, many NBA players have also participated in the charitable events organized by the Yao Foundation to help Chinese schools in less developed regions build on-campus basketball programs.

This shows that charitable and public welfare activities are a common language between the East and the West, which can help people reach understanding and consensus.

A pluralistic society inevitably makes different cultures coexist. We are confident that Chinese culture is here to stay and will mix with other cultures from around the world. This confidence comes from the strength of our parents, from the magnificence of Chinese characters, and from the wonderful feelings on tips of our tongues.

I believe that, by adhering faithfully to these wonderful things, everybody can become a goodwill envoy of Chinese culture to achieve the dream of life and family, and to accomplish the Chinese dream.


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