China's former National Basketball Association (NBA) star Yao Ming has been announced as the latest ambassador for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee.
Ming will share his advice and experience of international competition with the next generation of young athletes, while inspiring young people around the world to get active and embrace the Olympic values as part of his ambassadorial role.
The 33-year-old is set to attend the Games in Nanjing where he will interact with athletes and take in some of the competition, including basketball, which will feature in its 3x3 format.
Ming began his career with the Shanghai Sharks before moving to the NBA in 2002 where he spent nine seasons playing for the Houston Rockets franchise, being named to the NBA All-Star team for eight of those.
He announced his retirement in 2011 citing persistent foot and ankle injuries as the main reason and at the time of leaving the NBA, he was the tallest active player at seven feet and four inches (2.29 metres).
Both of Ming's parents were also professional basketball players in China and Ming represented his country at the Beijing 2008 Olympics where he scored the opening basket of the tournament in China's 101-70 defeat to the United States, a moment he described as the proudest of his career.
China went on to qualify for the quarter-finals where they were defeated by Lithuania.
Ming joins the likes of double Olympic and three-time world pole vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, American golf star Michelle Wie and Olympic and world champion swimmer Chad le Clos of South Africa, who have already been unveiled as ambassadors for Nanjing 2014.
Nanjing will be the second edition of the Youth Olympic Games following on from the inaugural event in Singapore in 2010 and around 3,800 athletes aged between 15 and 18 are set to compete across 28 sports from August 16 to 28.
Last month, organisers announced they had selected 18,000 volunteers for the Games from more than 103,000 applicants.
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