Thursday , Jan , 21 , 2010 Hoopsvibe

Yao Ming Denies Retirement Rumors

“I bought the Sharks to give them a boost and do something on behalf of Chinese basketball,” Yao said in an interview with the official Xinhua News Agency appearing in newspapers Thursday.

“To be honest, they’ve played well this season, beyond my expectations, but we also see their deficiencies and need to toughen up in the coming seasons.”

Yao saved the team after the loss of their main sponsor threatened to keep them out of the league in 2009-2010.

The 7-foot-6 center played for the Sharks from 1997 to 2002 and took them to the league championship title in the 2001-2002 season, after being runner-up in the playoffs the previous two years. The team has struggled to make the playoffs since his departure for the NBA.

Yao has dismissed speculation that the investment was a step toward retirement, although recurring injuries have raised fears that his career could be winding down.