Welcome home, Yao Ming!
Updated: 2011-07-21 07:54
The smart power of Yao Ming's charisma will reach far beyond his retirement. That is why the NBA superstar's farewell to his professional basketball career has sparked such emotion in his hometown Shanghai, in China and even all over the world.
Yao made tremendous contributions to sport, culture and commerce during his NBA years. But as he said, this is not a full stop, only a comma in his life.
Like a giant bridge spanning the Pacific Ocean between China and America, Yao Ming will continue to promote understanding between a rejuvenating modern China and the rest of the world.
Nine years ago, he went to Houston as a young skinny player, now he is coming back a grown man. During this time, he drew hundreds of millions of Chinese basketball fans to the NBA and won admirers all over the world with his dedication to basketball and his country.
The stern-faced giant has the same amiableness as a neighborhood boy. His sense of humor and teasing make him accessible and genial.
To many, China is no longer an unknown nation napping in the Far East, but the hometown of Yao Ming. His modesty, flexibility and perseverance has helped the world to know Chinese culture.
As an ambassador between peoples, Yao Ming's enchantment extends far beyond the basketball court and his personal record of 19 points, 9.2 backboards and 1.9 caps per game. Yao retired after only nine seasons because of frequent bone fractures and torn tendons, but his appeal is easily seen in his unyielding struggle with pain and his loyalty to his family.
The end of Yao's playing career means the beginning of a new life in other fields, but he will continue to contribute to sports and his country. Yao has more time to realize his business dreams and establish his charity now.
It is now our turn to extend our sincere appreciation to him for all the joys he brought to us and all the pains he undertook on himself.
Although it is hard to see another Yao coming soon, it entails no specific individual player to carry Yao's legacy forward. His performance off the court makes his life an all-sided success, inspiring the youth at home and abroad.
As a vigorous embodiment of the profound and extensive civilization of China, the "Ming Dynasty" legacy lives on.
It is heartening to hear Yao saying he intends to participate more in basketball training for youngsters. "Taking the Shanghai team as a platform, I hope more children will take part in and love physical activities, making themselves stronger and helping themselves become better people through sports."
Hopefully, he will help some of these youngsters become stars and bridges between cultures in the future.
(China Daily 07/21/2011 page8)