NBA (National Basketball Association)

NBA legend Yao Ming finally graduates from Shanghai University after seven years fulfilling a promise to his folks

The former Houston Rockets man collects his degree in economics and fulfils a promise he made to his parents at 17

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 12:29pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2018, 10:37pm

It may have taken him a lot longer than it should have, and he admitted that he considered quitting many times along the way, but former NBA star and basketball hall of famer Yao Ming finally graduated from China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Sunday.

The 37-year-old looked thrilled as he posed for photographs with his parents wearing the traditional gown and mortarboard following the ceremony where he was awarded his degree in economics fulfilling a promise he made to his parents when he was 17.

The 2.29-metre star also gave a speech to his fellow graduates at the ceremony in which he joked about the length of time it took him to complete his course.

“At a certain stage in the future, you should try to combine your future with the future of the society, because that’s how you can find larger space for yourself to explore,” Yao said.

“Let me quote a famous conversation that happened on a basketball court 11 years ago, ‘This is going to be your league in a little while.’ Trust me, when a man spends seven years in university to graduate at age 38, he knows what he’s talking about!”

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The former Houston Rockets man began his course in 2011 shortly after he ended his playing career.

Although he engaged in campus life at the university, Yao opted for a tailored course so as to not be a distraction for other students.

Since retiring, Yao has kept himself busy with charity work, fronting a campaign to protect endangered species.

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He bought his former Chinese Basketball Association team Shanghai Sharks back in 2009, and was named president of the CBA in February last year.

In 2017, Yao’s number 11 jersey was retired by his former NBA team, the Houston Rockets.