Acts of charity elevate Yao Ming

By Yang Xinwei
0 CommentsPrint E-mail china daily, August 3, 2010
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While the Houston Rockets center is not scoring points on court, he is definitely still the focus of the Chinese media and scoring points through his philanthropy.

Using his personal charm and the respect he has garnered from NBA teammates and rivals, the 2.26m basketball player invited Canadian Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, also a charity enthusiast, for the Yao Ming Foundation Charity Tour, which featured exhibition games in Beijing and Taipei to raise funds for Project Hope in China.

The significance of the tour went well beyond the money the two games raised as it also helped lift people's awareness of charities, especially of Chinese athletes and celebrities.

It was not the first time Yao had done charity work. In 2007, also with Nash, Yao hosted a charity auction with Chinese and NBA basketball stars and celebrities taking part. That auction and charity game raised more than 17 million yuan ($2.5 million) for impoverished Chinese children.

Yao was also among the first to donate 500,000 yuan ($73,700) after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and later sent another check of $214,000 from the US to the Chinese Red Cross Association. In June 2008, a Chinese website was officially launched for the Yao Ming Foundation, which is helping rebuild schools in the quake-stricken areas. As a volunteer of the China Bone Marrow Bank, Yao also took part in promotions for the organization, calling on the public to donate to the bank to help cancer victims.

Yao is a great center and a greater patriot. Undoubtedly, he is the most popular and wealthiest Chinese sportsman, ranking 21st with $28.4 million among the world's highest-paid athletes.

I believe charity is an altitude of life. It is especially valuable for Yao to have that altitude since he is a global figure and an example for the youngsters to follow.

Among the Chinese champion athletes, there are people who would sell luxury cars and villas in order to keep the money and pay less to their ex-spouses before getting a divorce. But most of them have a kind heart, even those who have retired and are not earning much. Former Beijing Guo'an player Shang Yi donated 50,000 yuan, in the name of his wife and retired national table tennis player Wu Na, to a boy suffering from leukemia after hearing that the father had left the child at a hospital and was trying to raise money for treatment.

That money may or may not play a part in saving the child, but it is the act which sets an example for others to follow, to return something to a society Chinese athletes have benefited from on their way to stardom.

For those with loving hearts, you would agree with Yao's saying: "Charity activities give me a sense of satisfaction and success".

China Daily this week reported Yao might end his basketball career next year if the injury to his left foot does not heal properly, I hope he will never end his charity activity as he has set a fine example for other Chinese athletes to follow.

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