Yao happy to slam-dunk one for kids in need
By Lei Lei (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-05 08:53

Yao happy to slam-dunk one for kids in need

Chinese NBA star Yao Ming dubs the animated film The Magic Aster in a studio in Beijing yesterday.

Chinese NBA star Yao Ming knows how to thrill fans on the court. So this summer he is trying something different - enchanting children without even holding a basketball, just by using his voice.

Forced to withdraw from the NBA playoffs due to a foot injury, China's basketball icon was invited by the Shanghai Special-care Foundation to voice the animated Chinese film The Magic Aster, which premieres on June 19.

In the movie, he gives his voice to the father of main actress Xiao Lan.

It was the first time Yao dubbed a Chinese film and his significantly shorter teammates this time include Taiwan supermodel-actress Lin Chi-ling and Hong Kong actor-singer Leon Lai.

"A lot of animation produced in China is very good and I hope children can enjoy this one and pass on traditional Chinese culture as well," Yao said yesterday in Beijing, where he is enjoying his layoff from the Houston Rockets' season after finishing his four-hour dubbing work for the movie.

Yao happy to slam-dunk one for kids in need

The film tells a traditional Chinese fairy tale about justice fighting evil to recapture the magic aster, which protects people's happiness.

It is jointly produced by the Shanghai Film (Group) Corporation, Shanghai Animation Film Studio, Xiamen Shangcheng Science and Technology Co.Ltd for China's 60th birthday.

For sportsman Yao, joining such a production was a bigger challenge than playing in a tough NBA match.

"It was very difficult at the very beginning, although I only had to sit there and talk," Yao recalled.

"It's a totally different working style from basketball. I couldn't add much of my own personality, but had to merge with the character."

Actually, it is not his first involvement in movie production.

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