Chinese great Yao Ming retires from basketball

SHANGHAI (AP) - Yao Ming has made it official, telling a packed news conference in his hometown that a series of injuries have forced him to retire from basketball.

The 7-fooot-6 center, who became a household name in China before starting his NBA career with the Houston Rockets as the top draft pick in 2002, said: "I will formally end my career."

Yao played eight seasons in the NBA, but missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years. Houston general manager Daryl Morey attended Yao's farewell conference Wednesday, and NBA Commissioner David Stern was scheduled to send a message via video link.

Morey had to get permission from the NBA to be attend because the lockout prohibits contact with players.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)