Through the Yao Foundation, Chinese basketball legend, Yao Ming reaches remote areas of China to provide children with sports training and equipment. Ming established the foundation in June of 2008 in response to a devastating 8.0 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China on May 12, 2008. The earthquake saw the destruction of more than 185 schools.
With a budget of nearly $3million the foundation is helping rebuild these schools and also reaches those with no physical education programmes and organises regional competitions. The foundation now operates in the US too.
Born in Shanghai in 1980, Yao started playing for the Shanghai Sharks as a teenager and then moved to their senior team, the Chinese Basketball Association winning them a championship in his 5th and final year.
He then got drafted to the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected to start for the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star Game eight times and was named to the All-NBA Team five times. At the time of his final season, he was the tallest active player in the NBA. Notably, at a whopping 7ft 6, the NBA star is one of the tallest basketball players ever. He is also the only player from outside of the United States to lead the NBA in All-Star votes.
In 2009 Yao was recruited by WildAid as a public figure for their campaign to reduce Chinese consumption of shark fin soup.
His influence reportedly helped them to reduce consumption in China by 60%, no small feat! He has also featured in a documentary fighting back against the ivory trade and continues to enrol basketball stars to help with his mission to bring sports to remote communities in both China and the US.Tags: Basketball, philanthropy