Fulfilling a promise he made to his parents when he was younger, former NBA superstar Yao Ming finally graduated from college with a degree in economics.
The 37-year-old NBA Hall of Famer received his degree along with his fellow graduates at the Antai College of Economics & Management of Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Sunday, according to NBA Hall of Famer.
In his speech delivered at the ceremony, the 7-foot-8-inch-tall graduate poked fun at the extended period of time that it took him to finish his college courses.
“At a certain stage in the future, you should try to combine your future with the future of the society, because that’s how you can find larger space for yourself to explore,” Yao said.
“Let me quote a famous conversation that happened on a basketball court 11 years ago, ‘This is going to be your league in a little while.’ Trust me, when a man spends seven years in university to graduate at age 38, he knows what he’s talking about!”
Yao, who spent eight remarkable seasons with the Houston Rockets in the NBA, began his academic program in 2011 shortly after he retired from his basketball career.
He took a tailored degree program with mostly one-on-one lectures to avoid being a distraction on campus due to his popularity.
After ending his basketball days, Yao also became involved with charity work, which includes campaigning for various causes such as elephant and rhino conservation. Yao also established The Yao Ming Foundation to assist the needy in China.
In 2016, Yao was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, along with 4-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson. His number 11 jersey was retired by the Houston Rockets a year later.
Featured Image via Instagram / Yao