BEIJING – NBA China and Yao Ming today announced a partnership to develop and operate the first-ever NBA Yao School in Beijing. The announcement was made at a press conference at the MasterCard Center in Beijing attended by NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA China CEO David Shoemaker, and NBA Legend Yao Ming.
The NBA Yao School, launching in February 2014, will provide after-school basketball training and fitness programs for boys and girls up to age 16 at all skill levels. The school aims to teach the importance of teamwork, leadership and communication in a fun basketball environment.
This announcement marks another milestone in the partnership between NBA China and Yao to develop youth basketball and create social responsibility programs in China.
“It has always been my dream to positively impact the lives of youth through sports participation,” said Yao. “Basketball fans in China are passionate and eager to participate in high-standard basketball training programs. I look forward to working with the NBA to establish the NBA Yao School as a trusted destination for basketball training. I am also excited to extend our partnership with the NBA and demonstrate our joint commitment to youth development.”
“When Yao retired, he said he was leaving the court but not the game, and he remains an extraordinary ambassador for our sport,” said Stern. “We are honored to continue working with Yao to grow and develop basketball in China.”
The NBA will create the basketball training curriculum and operations manual, and select an experienced technical director to implement and manage the program. Yao will be responsible for developing and operating the school. NBA players and legends will make visits to the school to provide specialized instruction on basketball techniques, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and overall player development.
The first program will launch at the Wukesong Basketball Park in February 2014 and run through May. For more information about the school, please log onto the official NBA Yao School page: www.nbayaoschool.com.
Since NBA China and Yao partnered in 2012, NBA Cares has provided support to the Yao Foundation’s Hope School Basketball Season, which expanded to 79 Hope Schools and reached more than 60,000 children. In July, NBA China conducted the first-ever NBA Cares Yao Foundation Charity Carnival, a free fan event held in the outdoor square at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, in support of Yao’s charity game.
The partnership with Yao complements the NBA’s rich history and long-term commitment to basketball development in China. The NBA first hosted the Chinese national team in 1985 and is currently in the fourth year of a joint coaching program with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), which has trained nearly 700 coaches. In September 2011, the CBA Dongguan Basketball School – an NBA Training Center was launched for elite players ages 12-17. The school has trained more than 1,200 players and coaches.
About Yao Ming
The former Chinese professional basketball player and NBA legend was born in 1980 in Shanghai, and is currently studying at the Shanghai Jiaotong University. Yao played for the Shanghai Sharks from 1997 to 2002 and was the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, where he went on to play for the Houston Rockets from 2002 to 2011. Yao is not only one of the most influential figures in China, but he is one of the most well-known Chinese athletes in the world. The eight-time NBA All-Star was listed as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” by TIME Magazine; he also got the Medal of Honor and Outstanding Contribution Award from the General Administration of Sports in China.
Yao Ming founded the “Yao Foundation” in 2008, which aims to help unprivileged children in China. In 2007, Yao conducted a charity game together with NBA guard Steve Nash and since then the Yao Foundation has held two charity basketball games in 2010 and 2013. With the Philosophy of educating children through sports, the “Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season” was launched in 2012 and helps unprivileged children get involved in sports to be healthy, optimistic and confident. To date, 79 Hope Primary Schools and nearly 60,000 children have participated.
About NBA China
The NBA’s entity that conducts all of the league’s businesses in greater China was formed in January 2008 after its first office opened in Hong Kong in 1992. The NBA has interacted with Chinese basketball for decades, including first hosting the Chinese National team in 1985. The NBA currently has relationships with a strong network of television and digital media outlets in China, including a partnership of more than 25 years with national broadcaster CCTV. The league hosts hundreds of touring basketball events for fans, conducts community enrichment programs, and maintains marketing partnerships with a combination of world-class Chinese based corporations and U.S.-based multinationals.
Headquartered in Beijing, NBA China currently employs more than 100 people in four offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. NBA products such as apparel and footwear are available through various retail networks and on tmall.nba.com. In 2004, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to play games in China, with two games between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing. Following NBA Global Games 2013, the league will have played 15 games in China since 2004.