BEIJING - FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Ambassador Yao Ming has taken on a further role, as the newly-elected President of his nation's basketball association.
Yao Ming carried China on his back when he was one of the world's best players, leading the team to FIBA Asia Cup wins and to Quarter-Final appearances at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
Yao is going to lead the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) as its new President.
The CBA voted unanimously on Thursday to appoint Yao as their supreme.
Yao will aim to bring improvements to all aspects of the game, from the grassroots to the professional ranks and the national teams.
"Now that we are a non-profit organization, we have to better analyze our situation while learning from what is done abroad to develop our sport in China," he said.
His appointment comes at an important time for basketball in China, which in 918 days will become the first nation to host a 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup. When he was unveiled as the ambassador, Yao spoke about the opportunity to stage the event and stressed the truly global nature of the event.
"Basketball has always been a global game since it was born over 120 years ago, from the first day," he said.
"And China is among the first group of countries to adopt basketball since then. The 32 teams, obviously the competition, will be much more competitive than one decade ago. There will be more representatives from Europe, from Africa, from Asia too, and more opportunities for more elite players to compete in their dream and I'm looking forward to seeing it.