Former NBA star Yao Ming is taking the blame after China’s disappointing performance at the FIBA World Cup tournament.
The 38-year-old Chinese Basketball Association president immediately presented himself when reporters asked who would be responsible for China’s defeat against Nigeria 86-73 on Sunday, according to Xinhua.
“It is me who disappoint the fans,” he told reporters. “The fans had great expectation for China at the World Cup, but we could not make it.”
China finished second in Group N of the tournament with two wins and three losses.
The result means China will not have direct entry to the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and will have to go through the qualification tournament next year to face teams such as Lithuania, Slovenia, Canada and Turkey, Shanghaiist reported.
“This [World Cup] is a window for us to look out at the world,” Yao said via South China Morning Post. “The gap between China and the world leading basketball countries has grown since 2016. But we have the determination to keep our program of reforms in, among others, the professional league, youth academy and sports education.”
The former Houston Rockets player and two-time Olympian was unanimously elected as president of the Chinese Basketball Association in 2017.
Featured Image via Xinhua / Pan Yulong