Retired NBA star Yao Ming may "go back to school and get very fundamental study" at one of China's most prestigious universities this fall.
"I'm thinking about going back to school this fall," the towering former Houston Rockets center told US sports writer Graham Bensinger during an exclusive interview in Shanghai.
"I think education is very, very important. Remember the NBA Cares. Always tell read to achieve, read to achieve. How can you not read to achieve and then tell other kids to read to achieve?" Yao said during the first interview since his retirement in July.（Note: NBA Cares is a program that NBA sponsors help poor kids learn to read and study.）
The Chinese basketball legend is ready to make up for his missed school days, which according to Yao ended when he was 17. He plans to go to Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of China's oldest and top public research universities based in Yao's hometown of Shanghai.
But which major Yao Ming will choose to study is unclear until this October, Yao's agent Zhang Mingji was quoted as saying by Chengdu Business Daily, a local Chinese newspaper based in Southwest China's Sichuan province.
"Yao Ming will definitely not have classes like those freshmen. He will have special teachers arranged by the university," Zhang said.
Yao expressed his desire to go back to college life but it would be hard for him.
"It's harder for me. It's a different life. The professional life just needs you to manage yourself, but…You cannot stop working and you have to keep thinking in college," Yao said during the Bensinger interview. "(I need to) Go back to training my idea and thinking, and that is very very important."
A still image grabbed from huffingtonpost.com shows Yao Ming in an exclusive interview with US sports writer Graham Bensinger in Shanghai, video uploaded on Sept 2, 2011. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]
During the one-on-one interview, Yao Ming also mentioned he started thinking about retirement in 2009 when he had been hesitating about reconstructive surgery but his doctor warned him of life in a wheelchair or crutches by age 50 without the timely surgery.
"So I ask him, 'What if I had this surgery? What is the chance for me to back on court?' And he said, 'You can play basketball again, but nothing is guaranteed.'"
Yao revealed an annoyance to Bensinger that most people may not know – he has been deaf in his left ear since age 8 after a high fever, but the deafness doesn't have much impact on the basketball ace's life.
"I'm living well… I still can clearly hear from my right side," according to Yao.
Weight soars about 10kg
Yao told Bensinger he could "focus on sharks, some other businesses and his foundation" after ending his professional career as a basketball player two months ago.
"Now I have to spend double the time (that I've spent on basketball court) in meeting rooms, sometimes 15-16 hours in two days."
Yao said he also put on weight because he has not been working out much since retirement. "I'm getting fat... because my size, I've put on 20 or 30 pounds (9Kg or 13kg), but it doesn't show very much. I'm thinking about going back to work out in a very short time."