NBA China and Houston Rockets legend Yao Ming today announced a partnership to develop and operate the first-ever NBA Yao School in Beijing. The announcement was made at a press conference at the MasterCard Center in Beijing attended by NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA China CEO David Shoemaker, and Yao Ming.
The NBA Yao School, launching in February 2014, will provide after-school basketball training and fitness programs for boys and girls up to age 16 at all skill levels. The school aims to teach the importance of teamwork, leadership and communication in a fun basketball environment.
This announcement marks another milestone in the partnership between NBA China and Yao to develop youth basketball and create social responsibility programs in China.
“It has always been my dream to positively impact the lives of youth through sports participation,” said Yao. “Basketball fans in China are passionate and eager to participate in high-standard basketball training programs. I look forward to working with the NBA to establish the NBA Yao School as a trusted destination for basketball training. I am also excited to extend our partnership with the NBA and demonstrate our joint commitment to youth development.”
“When Yao retired, he said he was leaving the court but not the game, and he remains an extraordinary ambassador for our sport,” said Stern. “We are honored to continue working with Yao to grow and develop basketball in China.”
The NBA will create the basketball training curriculum and operations manual, and select an experienced technical director to implement and manage the program. Yao will be responsible for developing and operating the school. NBA players and legends will make visits to the school to provide specialized instruction on basketball techniques, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and overall player development.
The first program will launch at the Wukesong Basketball Park in February 2014 and run through May.
For more information about the school, please log onto the official NBA Yao School page:www.nbayaoschool.com.
Since NBA China and Yao partnered in 2012, NBA Cares has provided support to the Yao Foundation’s Hope School Basketball Season, which expanded to 79 Hope Schools and reachedmore than 60,000 children. In July, NBA China conducted the first-ever NBA Cares Yao Foundation Charity Carnival, a free fan event held in the outdoor square at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, in support of Yao’s charity game.
The partnership with Yao complements the NBA’s rich history and long-term commitment to basketball development in China. The NBA first hosted the Chinese national team in 1985 and is currently in the fourth year of a joint coaching program with the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), which has trained nearly 700 coaches. In September 2011, the CBA Dongguan Basketball School – an NBA Training Center was launched for elite players ages 12-17. The school has trained more than 1,200 players and coaches.