Yao Ming and NBA China Announce Partnership to Further Basketball Participation and Youth Development in China

- Will Collaborate to Launch Key Basketball Development Programs in China -
- NBA Cares and Yao Foundation to Conduct Social Responsibility Programs -

BEIJING, July 16, 2012 – Yao Ming and NBA China today announced a broad and comprehensive partnership to further basketball participation, develop youth basketball, promote cultural exchange, and conduct social responsibility programs in China.

Through this partnership, Yao will collaborate with the league to launch basketball and social development programs for Chinese youth through NBA Cares and the Yao Foundation for communities in need.

This announcement follows the launch this April of the inaugural Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season. Currently taking place in 47 Hope schools across Sichuan, and supported by NBA Cares, the initiative demonstrates the shared commitment to youth development and giving back to society through basketball. The program which culminates in Leshan, China in August provides underprivileged children with the opportunity to experience the joy of basketball and the values of sportsmanship.

Among the many social responsibility programs both entities conduct in China, the Yao Foundation also will stage a bi-annual Yao Ming Charity basketball game, with support from NBA Cares, to raise funds for the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season.

Yao and NBA China have additional plans to work with the relevant sports authorities to develop a high school coaches training program; a basketball training center in Shanghai for both amateur and professional players of a wide range of ages; and an annual basketball camp that will focus on developing elite youth players.

“The passion for basketball in China has never been stronger and tapping into the NBA’s expertise and the support from Chinese fans will help me carry out my mission of giving back to communities in Shanghai and throughout China,” said Yao. "The game of basketball has been so good to me and while I have left the court I will never leave the game. I look forward to working with the NBA to give more youth the opportunity to play basketball at an elite level and help more people in need. I would love to see the next generation of Chinese players surpass the accomplishments of my generation.”

“Yao is in a truly unique position to help grow the game of basketball in China because he has a first-hand understanding of China’s sports system and the NBA,” said NBA China CEO David Shoemaker. “We welcome Yao as an advisor to NBA China and this partnership will strengthen our on-going collaboration with the Chinese Basketball Association to enhance the development of youth basketball in China.”

The partnership with Yao complements the NBA’s rich history and long-term commitment to basketball development in China. The NBA first hosted China’s National Team in 1985 and is currently in the third year of a joint coaching program with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) which has trained more than 200 coaches. In September 2011, the CBA Dongguan Basketball School – an NBA Training Center – opened for elite players ages 12-17 and is the first such NBA facility anywhere in the world.

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About Yao Foundation
Yao Foundation was established in 2008 by Yao Ming under the auspices of The China Youth Development Fund (CYDF) and aims at promoting all-round development covering education, sports, health, and psychology for Chinese youth.

Since Yao Ming established the Yao Foundation in 2008, more than 9,000 Chinese rural youth have benefited from studying in the 14 Hope Primary Schools it has funded. Besides constructing schools, the Yao Foundation also improves the educational environment of Chinese youth by partnering with leading Chinese and multinational organizations to build libraries, computer rooms, kitchens, and sports and exercise areas in local schools. In 2012, the Yao Foundation initiated a new program called the “Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season.” The program will teach Chinese youth basketball skills and more importantly help them to build self-confidence and to learn sportsmanship which will be crucial for their development in the future.

Yao Foundation has established relationships with many renowned companies and institutions to improve the study conditions of Chinese children in rural areas. For more information, please go to www.yaofoundation.cn.