Yao Ming Denies Interest in Purchasing Houston Rockets

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 21, 2017

BEIJING, CHINA - JULY 05:  Chinese basketball star and former NBA player Yao Ming, chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), attends 2017 Sino-Australia Men's International Basketball Challenge at Beijing Sports University Comprehensive Hall on July 5, 2017 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Houston Rockets legend Yao Ming said Friday he's not interested in becoming part of a prospective ownership group for the franchise.

Mark Berman of KRIV noted Yao explained to the Xinhua News Agency in China he "doesn't have time" to potentially buy the Rockets. The eight-time NBA All-Star selection told Berman he wishes the organization the "best of luck" during the sale process.

Rockets CEO Tad Brown announced Monday the NBA team was for sale through owner Leslie Alexander, who purchased the franchise in 1993.

Eben Novy-Williams and Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported the Rockets could set a new league record by selling for more than $2 billion in part because of their large following in China, which developed during Yao's nine-year career in Houston.

The center explained his love for the city in February when the team retired his No. 11, per Fran Blinebury of NBA.com.

"It's an honor and privilege to be here not only today, but my career in Houston as a Rocket player," he said. "Thinking back the years I spent here, the entire team, organization, the city of Houston, I feel so welcome here, so family here. When you feel so good about that time, it flies. It is hard to imagine that 15 years passes."

His prominent role in basketball's growth in his native China will prevent him from becoming actively involved in the sale, though.

The Standard noted Yao was elected as chairman of the CBA Company, which owns the Chinese Basketball Association, this week. He's also president of the CBA.

Meanwhile, fellow former Rocket center Dikembe Mutombo told Berman on Tuesday he's working to create a group that hopes to buy the organization.