Asia

Chinese Basketball Association elects Yao Ming as president

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 file photo, retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming speaks during his jersey number retirement ceremony at halftime of an NBA basketball game between the Rockets and the Chicago Bulls in Houston. The Chinese Basketball Association has voted unanimously to appoint NBA Hall of Famer Yao as its new president. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 file photo, retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming speaks during his jersey number retirement ceremony at halftime of an NBA basketball game between the Rockets and the Chicago Bulls in Houston. The Chinese Basketball Association has voted unanimously to appoint NBA Hall of Famer Yao as its new president. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)  (The Associated Press)

The Chinese Basketball Association has voted unanimously to appoint Hall of Famer Yao Ming as its president.

The CBA's social media account quoted Yao as saying at a ceremony on Thursday that he hoped to reform the domestic league's draft system and push more Chinese players into the international arena.

Yao's appointment is considered as a reform step for an association which until now has typically been led by government sports officials.

Yao, 36, was one of the first Chinese athletes to become an international household name when the Houston Rockets drafted him with the first pick in 2002. The 2.29-meter (7-foot-6) center played for eight seasons in the NBA before retiring in 2011, citing chronic injuries.

The Shanghai-born Yao was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2016.