Dejected after another disappointing international basketball performance in a loss to Spain at the Olympic Games Sunday, China's Yao Ming said he was considering cutting short his national team career, according to Monday's China Daily citing agencies as the news source.
China came into the Olympic tournament with high hopes resting mainly on the broad shoulders of the 23-year-old 7-foot-6 center.
But the team, which has enlisted the help of long-time NBA coach Del Harris, failed badly in its first outing, getting thoroughly outplayed by the Spaniards in an 83-59 loss.
"I feel so disappointed. I lost all my hopes for this team. We changed our skin, but we are the same. Just like the world championships in Indianapolis two years ago," a visibly upset Yao told reporters after the game.
Yao has blossomed into a major international figure since joining the NBA's Houston Rockets in 2002 and China selected him to carry the flag during the Olympic opening ceremony.
But team results during Yao's international career have fallen short, with China finishing a disappointing 10th at the Sydney Games, followed by a 12th place at the world championship in 2002.
"I didn't play well either. I am thinking about retiring from the national team. Not now, but soon I will. In Indianapolis I was the youngest player, now I am an elder, but still there is no hope for us."
China play their next game Tuesday against New Zealand.
(China Daily August 15, 2004)