Retired NBA star, Yao Ming has revealed that he might have worked as an archaeologist, if his parents hadn’t pushed him into basketball.
Yao made this revelation on a reality show called “My World My Voice,” aired on Jiangsu Satellite TV on Sunday evening. During the show, the global superstar talked about his childhood dreams.
“Because of heart and lung problems, I was physically weak when I was little,” Yao said. “Although I was quite tall, I didn’t like to play basketball. What I liked was archaeology, history and astronomy, not basketball.”
“The reason I chose to play basketball was because I wanted to be a good son and I listened to my parents,” he added.
From the time that he was 9 years old, Yao underwent a regimen of monotonous training, which gradually helped him to become stronger and more confident, completely changing his life. Still, he has some regrets…
“If I didn’t choose basketball, I could have devoted my time to digging in a cave and remained anonymous,” Yao said, apparently unaware of how famous he could have become as the “world’s tallest archaeologist” — though it does seem like his height might have been a hindrance in his dream profession.
Of course, Yao is done with basketball now — though he is the owner of the local CBA team, the Shanghai Sharks — and he doesn’t seem to be spending much time digging in caves. Instead, he says that after retirement he has spent one-third of his time doing charitable work. In particular, he launched the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season in 2012, which is a project aimed at providing more teenagers from poorer areas the opportunity to play basketball, so that they can learn about the joys of sports, gain confidence and become part of a team.
Yao believes that the most important part of doing charity work is bringing people together. He says that it’s not just about donating money, but more about involvement, time, activity and support.
A basketball and charity star, but never an actor or reality TV star. Yao was on the second episode of the hit Chinese TV series “Where Are We Going, Dad?” He later confessed that the experience was exhausting and that he would stay away from similar shows in the future. (Good news, Yao! They are banned.) He also says that acting has never been a goal of his.
Yao’s entrance into the NBA was a monumental moment for basketball, China and the USA, (Yao has recently penned an insightful story about his first year in Houston) which helped the sport’s popularity skyrocket further in China and placed Chinese basketball on the international stage for the first time.
But what if Yao had become an archaeologist instead? Over the past three decades, China has spent billions of dollars training, educating and equipping a massive pool of archaeologists that they hope will soon become the envy of the world. Foreign experts agree that Chinese archaeologists are just as good as their counterparts in Western nations — except that they don’t know jack about anywhere outside of China.
Perhaps, Yao’s famous drive, humility and spirit could have been used instead to bring Chinese archaeology to the world. Of course, we would have then missed out on moments like this:
By Lucy Liu