First day of studies for basketball legend
Updated: 2011-11-08 08:00
By Wang Hongyi (China Daily)
Yao Ming attends a math class during his first day as a student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Monday. Provided to China Daily
SHANGHAI-Retired Chinese basketball star Yao Ming started his campus life at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Monday.
Yao announced the news at a news conference at the university in his hometown on Monday evening, after finishing his first day on campus.
"I haven't been to school for more than 10 years, so it is a little bit difficult for me at the beginning. I need some time to adapt to school life," Yao said.
Since Yao's registration was delayed by about two months for personal reasons and because of his business affairs, Yao is creating a detailed study plan with his teachers to help him adapt to university life and catch up on his studies.
Yao is taking an undergraduate degree in economics at the university's Antai College of Economics and Management. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of China's oldest and top research universities.
Asked why he chose to return to school, Yao replied: "I need the study atmosphere at a university."
On his first day, Yao had English, math and China modern history classes.
"I like history. And it's exciting for me to have such a history class on the first day," he said.
Yao's presence at the university has received a lot of attention, as in addition to being taught separately, he will also attend some courses with other students. But he said he hopes he will not disturb them.
Though he officially retired as a player on July 20, Yao is still involved with the sport as owner of the Chinese Basketball Association team, the Shanghai Sharks, and in addition to his studies, Yao will still have to deal with the business affairs of his team.
" I want to bring the skills and knowledge that I learn in class into my work. That's very important," he said.
"It doesn't mean the teaching quality will be lowered. It needs me to keep a good balance between work and study."
Yao played for the Chinese national team for six years before joining the Houston Rockets in the United States. But he broke his left foot in a playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers, and underwent complex surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2009-10 season. He played only five games at the start of the 2010-11 season, before breaking his left ankle that again put him out for the rest of the season.
A well-loved national icon, Yao carried the Olympic torch and China's national flag during the opening ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
He also donated $2 million to set up a foundation to rebuild schools hit by the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.
Gao Changxin contributed to this story.
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