Yao Ming expresses thanks for Pac-12 relationship with China
SHANGHAI – On the eve of the 2016 Pac-12 China Game, key event stakeholders gathered at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s downtown campus Friday for the second China-U.S. University Sports & Education Summit.
Leaders and dignitaries from the Pac-12 Conference, Federation of University Sports China (FUSC), AliSports and their partners delivered a series of panel discussions to a packed auditorium with the theme to “share, inspire, and innovate.”
The three panels offered insight into the differences between American and Chinese education systems, how cooperation and communication between the two countries around university sports could foster growth, and the opportunities and challenges faced by university sports development in China.
Headlining the distinguished list of panelists was Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Yao Ming, who stressed the need for patience as Chinese universities strive to strike a balance between elite-level athletics and higher education as part of a discussion on College Sports & the Olympics.
“Whether it’s an excuse or a fact, we need time to tell,” said Yao. “I think it takes time to change people’s ideas and concepts, but we have to make the first step. We need people and the system, and to draw on the experience of the U.S., but we cannot rush.”
His participation in the Summit also offered Yao an opportunity to comment on Thursday’s announcement that a portion of Pac-12 China Game ticket sales will go to support the Yao Ming Foundation.
“I’m really grateful for what the Pac-12 is doing for my foundation and the kids who will benefit from it,” said Yao. “I saw some pictures yesterday of Mr. Bill Walton and the players visiting the Disney resort with the kids and I’m sure they all had a great time. They know that people from here [China] and even farther from here in the states care about them.”
When asked if he had any advice for the Conference of Champions, Yao quickly quipped: “Come more often.”
The Pac-12 will indeed come more often – at least one more year beyond its original agreement with the FUSC. The Summit concluded with Commissioner Larry Scott and FUSC Deputy President and Secretary General Yang Liguo exchanging a handshake and signed agreements to continue the strategic partnership between the Conference and FUSC through to 2018.
About Pac-12 Global:
Founded in 2011, Pac-12 Global is an unprecedented effort to proactively promote the Conference and its member institutions globally through student-athlete exchanges and sport. The Initiative uses the shared passion of athletics to support the ambitious international strategies that many of our universities have embarked on to extend their reach around the world. For more information on the initiative and its history, go to www.pac-12.com/global.