Parents are both former professional basketball players who played for China's National team. Surname is Yao and given name is Ming. More interested in books and history than sports as a child. Began intensive state-sponsored basketball training at age 9 when Chinese sports officials took note of his height and asserted a boy his size belonged to China, not just his family. Joined the Chinese National team at 18 and participated in the 2000 Olympic games. Played for the Chinese Basketball Association's Shanghai Sharks and won a CBA title in 2002. Overall first pick in the 2002 NBA draft and started as a rookie in the All-Star game. At 7-foot-6, is one of the tallest players in NBA history. Starred in the 2004 movie The Year of the Yao, which chronicled his rookie NBA season. Retired from the NBA in 2011, due to injuries. For NBA career he averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks-per-game; was selected to the NBA All-Star game eight times. Active in charity work, including his efforts for his Yao Ming Foundation, which assists in education in the U.S. and China, and which provided earthquake relief in 2008 in China.