Yao Ming officially announced his retirement from the National Basketball Association on Wednesday.
At the age of 30, the eight-time Chinese NBA All Star was forced to retire after suffering multiple injuries throughout his career including a recent foot injury. In a statement on CCTV, China’s state television broadcaster, Ming described his decision to end his basketball career.
"At the end of last year I broke my left foot for a third time. I had to leave the basketball court, and spent the last half of the year waiting, just as many of those who care about me," Ming said. "During that period, I struggled a lot in my heart and thought a lot. Now I am going to announce a personal decision: I am going to end my career as a basketball player and officially retire."
Ming struggled with injuries throughout his career. In 2005, only three years after being selected as the Houston Rockets’ first round draft pick, Ming was diagnosed with osteomylitis in his left foot.
The tallest player in the NBA at 7-foot-6, Ming was forced to be placed on the inactive players list in his fourth season. After recovering from a surgery stemming from the injury, Ming broke his knee the following year.
Although Ming spent two seasons averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds, he was forced to miss much of his 2008 season due to a stress fracture in his foot. The center was also unable to play during his entire 2009-2010 NBA season.
Despite a career plagued by injuries, Ming was able to make his way on the Rocket’s all-time best scoring list. Many players have also noted the Chinese player’s global impact on the game.
Kobe Bryant, a Los Angeles Lakers guard and five-time world champion, explained Ming’s effect on the game to Chinese reports.
"In terms of opening up doors for Chinese basketball players to come to the NBA, or for the youth here in China to believe that it’s possible to achieve the dream of being an NBA player, all that started from Yao," Bryant said.
Although Ming expressed his regret for not being able to continue his basketball career, he told Chinese fans that he is moving forward with humanitarian efforts.
"Today, I retired. The door of basketball is closed, but another door has just opened which will lead me to a new life waiting for me to experience," Ming said.
"Yao Fund is my personal fund, which has been established for three years. And in the coming future, I will take this as the basis and call on more people to get involved in charity and help more people."