MILLIONS of Yao Ming fans around the world are still hoping the Chinese giant will come out of retirement one day and resume his basketball career.
That won't happen, at least not in Monday's exhibition match.
The 7-foot-6 owner of Shanghai's team in the Chinese Basketball Association ruled out a cameo appearance when the Sharks take on Gilas Pilipinas and a PBA selection beginning on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I’m afraid that it won’t happen,” Yao said through an interpreter when asked about an on-court appearance during Sunday’s press conference at the Solaire Resort and Casino.
In jest, Yao said he would love to play for the Sharks but, “There is no jersey for me anymore.”
Yao had a storied basketball career with the Shanghai Sharks, the Houston Rockets, and the Chinese national team, but the global icon abruptly retired in 2011 due to nagging injuries on his foot and ankle after just nine years in the NBA.
The 32-year-old Yao said that those injuries continue to prevent him from playing for even a minute on court.
“My injury won’t allow me to do that,” said Yao.
Yao’s Sharks will play the Gilas Pilipinas national team on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena before taking on a PBA selection on Tuesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.