SHANGHAI: China's NBA star center Yao Ming tied the knot with his long-term
girlfriend Ye Li in a low-key wedding ceremony yesterday.
A private wedding banquet for the couple of eight years was held in the
city's five-star Shangri-La Hotel.
The evening was shrouded in secrecy until dozens of foreign and domestic
media camped outside the glitzy hotel for a glance at the happy couple.
In what was a relatively small affair for a star of gigantic proportions, a
limited number of guests of family and friends were invited to dine at eight
exclusive tables for the wedding banquet on the third floor of the hotel.
A custom-designed heart-shaped logo, with two "Y"s printed in the middle, was
hung from a white curtain in the front of two banquet halls, joined and
decorated in a traditional manner.
Yao booked the most expensive meal set priced at 12,399 yuan (US$1,640) per
table, according to a hotel source, close to the wedding reception.
The lavish menu included sea cucumber, sea-ear and fresh red garoupa.
Both are incredibly tall. Yao, at 2.26 meters tall towers over his new bride,
also a player in the national woman's basketball team, at 1.9 meters tall.
Yao, 27, and his wife, 25, are both from Shanghai.
The Houston Rockets' All-Star center reportedly met his sweetheart in 1999
when he was playing for the Shanghai Sharks, a local basketball team.
Their relationship, however, was only made public at the 2004 Athens Olympics
where they were seen walking hand-in-hand at the closing ceremony of the games.
The couple signed their marriage certificate on Friday
night in Xuhui District Marriage Registration Office, where officials worked
late until 8 pm that day for the couple's convenience.