May 29, 2023 7:14 pm

NBA legend Yao Ming steps down as chair of struggling Chinese Basketball Association’s business arm

Eight-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming has decided to leave his role as chairman of the business arm of the embattled Chinese Basketball Association. 

Chinese Basketball Association Management controls the business arm of the CBA, while the Chinese Basketball Association serves as the national governing body for basketball in China.

The former Houston Rockets star big man was named president of the CBA in 2017. 

Since then, Ming has invested a considerable amount of effort to commercialize the top-tier 20-team league.


The league posted a statement on its official website, thanking Ming for his leadership over the years. It is unclear why the 42-year-old decided to step down, although the board of directors indicated it was an appropriate time to make a leadership change.


Ming was one of the first Chinese athletes to become an international star. He was drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Rockets in 2002. The 7-foot-6 center played in the NBA eight seasons.

He retired from the league in 2011 due to chronic injuries.

Allegations of corruption have dogged the CBA in recent years. 

Two teams, the Jiangsu Dragons and Shanghai Sharks, were ejected from the league finals last month after being found to have engaged in unsporting conduct in a series of turnovers that resulted in a come-from-behind win by the Sharks.

The outcome was judged as suspicious and resulted in a swift investigation and punishments for both teams. Managers and coaching staff from each team have been barred from the league for up to five years.

China’s basketball and football leagues have drawn foreign talent and commercial endorsement but are weighed down by uncertain ownership lineups and the influence of government. 

Some officials have been placed under investigation for taking bribes and other forms of corruption.

Yao’s replacement is veteran sports journalist Xu Jicheng, who served on committees bidding for and overseeing management of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and last year’s Winter Games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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