Yao Ming takes photos with officials from the China Youth Development Foundation, Chinese Basketball Association, Dongguan government and Yao Foundation, along with representatives of local children in Dongguan. Photos: China Daily
The Yao Foundation Charity Game 2014 will be played in Dongguan, Guangdong province, on Aug 31, featuring NBA stars Tony Parker of this year′s champion San Antonio Spurs, George Hill from the Indiana Pacers and Shane Battier from the Miami Heat joining Chinese superstar Yao Ming in a match against Chinese basketball stars, Yao said at a press conference on Thursday in the host city.
Battier, who was Yao′s teammate with the Houston Rockets, will announce his retirement at a ceremony during the game.
Yao presented a charity basketball game together with NBA guard Steve Nash in 2007. Since then the Yao Foundation, which was established in 2008, has held two more games — in 2010 and 2013.
Ticket sales and donations raised by the charity game in Dongguan will go to Yao′s China Youth Development Foundation.
Money will be used to support the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season, a project aiming to provide more teenagers in poor areas with an opportunity to play basketball so that they can taste the joy of sport, gain confidence and learn about team spirit.
Launched in 2012, the project has benefited 151,500 students from 186 Hope Primary Schools across the country.
Twenty children selected from among the 1,200 participants in this year′s Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season will compete against 20 young basketball players in Dongguan in the third quarter of the upcoming star-studded charity game.
Yao said watching the young players will be a highlight of the game.
Yao, the NBA players and Chinese players will coach 30 young players in Dongguan at a training camp on Aug 30 and select 20 representatives for the game the next day.
It is the first time Yao′s charity game will travel to a city outside Beijing.
Dongguan is known in China as a basketball haven. It is the home court for Guangdong Hongyuan, an eight-time CBA champion.
"I hope that sports can become part of people′s lives in the future. All the charity events that the Yao Foundation hosts center on the message that strong youths lead to a strong country," Yao told China Daily before the press conference.
He also pointed out that Chinese basketball is not in a sustainable development pattern because it concentrates resources in the national team while leaving the training system underdeveloped.
He compares the distribution of resources to an ill-balanced person with a big head and a small figure.
"The national team is the big head, while the training system is a small figure. This is unsustainable, Yao said.
Yao Ming arrives at a press conference announcing the Yao Foundation Charity Game 2014 in Dongguan on Thursday. The charity basketball contest will be hosted in the city on Aug 31, with NBA stars including Tony Parker of the champion San Antonio Spurs.