Ex-NBA star Yao Ming steps down after six years as the head of the Chinese Basketball Association

We independently review everything we recommend based on our strict editorial guidelines. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn More

Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming has decided to step down in his position as chairman of his country’s Basketball Association. The former Houston Rockets star had been president of the league since 2017, until the CBA thanked him for his dedication through their official website.

However, none of the actors in this situation has addressed the reasons behind his decision to leave the association. The only indication from the CBA was that their board of directors wishes to continue leading the league in a new direction.

Ming was appointed to this position since February 2017, receiving an overwhelming and unanimous selection by the same board that now decided to continue without him.

Yao’s dismissal comes only a month after the Shanghai Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons were both disqualified from the league’s postseason run due to allegations of matches being fixed throughout the series.

The CBA defined their punishments after declaring both squads were “negative in competition” as it showed a great “lack of competitive effort” during their best-of-three playoff series last month. Additional to this, the teams had to pay a fine of $725,000.

Li Chunjiang, the Sharks head coach, was banned from the league for five years, as well as the team’s general manager Jiang Yusheng and rival Dragons coach Li Nan were both suspended for three seasons.

The controversy really fired up after Game 2 and 3 of the series, as the Shanghai squad was accused of “negative contention” during the 97-90 defeat. The charges were imposed after allegedly losing intentionally and allowing the series to extend all the way to player Eric Bledsoe’s return, after serving a four-game suspension.

Game 3, was fishy to say the least, as the Dragons committed five-consecutive turnovers which lead to Sharks possessions with less than two minutes remaining to the final buzzer. This allowed their opponents to turn around the game and win 108-104.

The international press defined China’s major sport leagues to be under the influence of corruption

Reports from international media like the Associated Press have described China’s basketball and football leagues as being “weighted down by uncertain ownership lineups and the influence of government,” considering that many officials are currently under investigation for treating bribes.

Back when Ming was first appointed six years ago, he offered to reform the competition by dividing the league into two conferences and increase the amount of matches between them. Nevertheless, his proposal was rejected because it was “not suited to China’s national circumstances.”

Take a look on what used to be a day in the life of the Rockets legend as the CBA’s chairman:

The former seven-foot-six athlete had begun his basketball career playing for the Sharks almost 26 years ago, where he competed in the CBA until 2002, before landing in Houston.

The 42-year-old, who is a Shanghai native, was then considered the No. 1 overall pick and eventually made it to the All-Star team in 8 out of his 9 campaigns in the NBA. In 2016, he was honored as a league’s Hall of Famer.