It won’t be me: Yao Ming scotches rumours he is about to buy Houston Rockets

Chinese basketball great says he is too busy contemplate purchase of NBA team

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 July, 2017, 11:18am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 July, 2017, 11:18am

At some point the Houston Rockets will be under new ownership but former centre Yao Ming will not be involved.

On Friday, the Hall of Fame centre ended speculation that he could be involved with a group looking to purchase the team by issuing a statement through Xinhua.

“I have no time to consider anything else (including buying the Houston Rockets),” Yao said.

Since retiring from the Rockets in 2011, Yao has been involved with the China Basketball Association, initially as an owner of his hometown Shanghai Sharks. He was elected on Thursday as the chairman of the company that runs the league and was named league president in February.

Yao was the first overall pick by the Rockets in 2002. He was an eight-time All-Star and averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in 486 career regular-season games during a nine-year career that was plagued by foot and ankle injuries.

He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 in the same class as Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.

Yao’s statement occurred after longtime owner Leslie Alexander announced on Monday he was putting the Rockets up for sale.

The 73-year-old Alexander bought the franchise for US$85 million in 1993. Forbes valued the franchise in February at US$1.65 billion – eighth-most valuable in the league – with revenue of US$244 million.

Alexander had immediate success as an owner as the Rockets won NBA titles over the New York Knicks in 1994 and the Orlando Magic in 1995 behind the play of Hakeem Olajuwon.

Alexander put CEO Tad Brown in charge to “oversee the sales process with the league office, supported by my management team.”