(Macao, April 23, 2013) - Retired basketball superstar Yao Ming will be at The Venetian® Macao's CotaiArena™ May 1 for the 2013 Venetian Macao All-Star Challenge. The towering, 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m) centre will coach his Shanghai Sharks against an athlete-celebrity team headed by nine-time NBA All-Star Gary "The Glove" Payton. Tickets for the 5:30 pm event start at MOP 80 and go on sale April 23 exclusively via www.CotaiTicketing.com.
The Shanghai Sharks gained the CBA championship in 2002, led by Yao, who later bought the team in 2009. Yao will again lead his former team, this time as coach, for an entertaining sports-filled night May 1 at the CotaiArena, offering the public a great chance to see the retired eight-time NBA All-Star in person.
The roster for Payton's Cotai All-Stars team is made up of ex-NBA pros Rafer Alston, Horace Grant and Jason Williams, joined by dunking phenom Anthony Pimble and celebrities Alex Fong, Alien Huang, Godfrey Gao, Louis Cheung and Kelvin Kwan. A 2006 NBA champion and 1996 Defensive Player of the Year, Payton was named by ESPN as one of the 10 greatest point guards ever, and will both coach and play for his Cotai All-Stars team.
The matchup between the Sharks and the All-Stars will include a special guest appearance from Yao's mentor, Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis. Special half-time performances will include dunking sensations Guy "Easy J" Dupuy, Anthony "Mr. Afrika" Pimble and Brandon "Werm" Lacue.
Spectators at the CotaiArena can look forward to plenty of fun and action; one highlight of the night will be the selection of two fans via lucky draw to actually join the game as players for each side. They'll have three minutes to try and score a point with the help of their famous team mates. If successful, they win autographed t-shirts from the players. During the final quarter of the game, another lucky fan will have one minute to try and score as many points as possible, for a chance at winning several prizes.
The Shanghai-born Yao, 32, is one of China's best-known athletes, and gained international stardom as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, joining the Houston Rockets. So began a stellar pro career marked with numerous accolades and achievements, including eight All-Star Games as a starter, five All-NBA Team selections, four NBA Playoffs, selection to the 2003 NBA All-Rookie First Team and being chosen as Sporting News' Rookie of the Year in 2003. His 2011 retirement set microblogging site Sina Weibo abuzz, generating over 1.2 million comments within the first three hours of his announcement. Praise directed at Yao was effusive: NBA commissioner David Stern lauded him for having a "wonderful mixture of talent, dedication, humanitarian aspirations and a sense of humour," and NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, who often went toe-to-toe with Yao as a fellow centre, said, "He was very agile. He could play inside, he could play outside, and if he didn't have those injuries he could've been up there in the top five centres to ever play the game."
Supported by the Macau Sport Development Board and Macau-China Basketball Association, tickets for the 5:30 pm, May 1 2013 Venetian Macao All-Star Challenge go on sale Tuesday, April 23, exclusively via www.CotaiTicketing.com. They can be purchased in one of three categories: HKD/MOP 380 (A Reserve), 180 (B Reserve) and 80 (C Reserve). Packages with round trip Cotai Water Jet ferry tickets between Hong Kong and Macao are also available for HKD/MOP 468 (A Reserve).
Photo caption: Basketball legend Yao Ming will lead his Shanghai Sharks against Gary Payton's Cotai All-Stars team Wednesday, May 1 at the CotaiArena. Tickets for the 2013 Venetian Macao All-Star Challenge go on sale April 23 exclusively at www.CotaiTicketing.com.
About The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel
Opened in 2007, The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is Macao's first integrated resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons of Venice, Italy. The Venetian Macao features 3,000 suites, 1.2 million square feet (111,000 square metres) of convention and meeting facilities as well as a 15,000-seat CotaiArena™ designed for world-class sports events and electrifying entertainment. The Venetian Macao is also home to the unique, 1,800-seat luxury Venetian Theatre, hosting the best in international and Chinese entertainment; more than 30 renowned restaurants; MALO CLINIC Health & Wellness; the incredibly fun QUBE indoor playground and more than 300 retailers at Shoppes Grand Canal. Outdoor recreation areas include swimming pools and cabanas and a mini-golf course.