XI'AN, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Ten years after retiring, Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming remains in the country's limelight.
Yao, current president of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), came to watch the U19 3x3 basketball competition every day after the National Games began on Thursday. Every time he entered the court, his presence would cause a stir.
Cellphones fixed on him, media focused on him, fans swarmed to take photos with him in the background. Organizers and volunteers fumbled in setting up security lines and persuading journalists and audiences to return to their seats.
Such disturbances have been commonplace in the past four days, as organizers became more accustomed to handling this.
After retiring in July 2011, Yao never stepped away from the center stage as a superstar, and his celebrity remains undimmed.
Though he remains a fixture on front pages, Yao notably refused to endorse any commercial brand or sports product since he retired.
During his five-year spell with CBA side the Shanghai Sharks and his nine-year NBA experience with the Houston Rockets, Yao became the most successful international sports star representing China and an idol of Chinese sports fans.
Yao, now 41, is dedicated to pushing forward reform of China's domestic basketball league and mini-basketball program, in order to change the sporting mindset of young basketball fans and China's basketball future.
During the National Games, Yao has focused on the 3x3 basketball event, which brought China its first Olympic basketball medal in 29 years with the women's team's bronze medal at the Tokyo Games. Enditem