Yao Ming slam-dunks singledom

By Zheng Lifei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-08-07 06:50

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.

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