not pursing purchase of Rockets
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[July 22, 2017]
(The Sports Xchange) - At some
point the Houston Rockets will be under new ownership but former
center Yao Ming will not be involved.
On Friday, the Hall of Fame center ended speculation that he could
be involved with a group looking to purchase the team by issuing a
statement through China's Xinhua news agency.
"I have no time to consider anything else (including buying the
Houston Rockets)," Yao said.
Since retiring from the Rockets in 2011, Yao has been involved with
the China Basketball Association, initially as an owner of his
hometown Shanghai Sharks. He was elected Thursday as the chairman of
the company that runs the league and was named league president in
Yao was the first overall pick by the Rockets in 2002. He was an
eight-time All-Star and averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in 486
career regular-season games during a nine-year career that was
plagued by foot injuries and ankle injuries.
He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 in the same
class as Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.
Yao's statement occurred after longtime owner Leslie Alexander
announced Monday he was putting the Rockets up for sale.
The 73-year-old Alexander bought the franchise for $85 million in
1993. Forbes valued the franchise in February at $1.65 billion --
eighth-most valuable in the league -- with revenue of $244 million.
[to top of second column]
Yao Ming, a delegate and a former NBA player arrives near the Great
Hall of the People before the opening session of the Chinese
People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing,
China. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo
Alexander had immediate success as an owner as the
Rockets won NBA titles over the New York Knicks in 1994 and the
Orlando Magic in 1995 behind the play of Hakeem Olajuwon.
Alexander put CEO Tad Brown in charge to "oversee the sales process
with the league office, supported by my management team."
Brown made the announcement during Monday's news conference at
Toyota Center. He said Alexander told him "it can wear on you after
so many decades."
(Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto.)
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