FIBA on Sunday celebrated 1,000 days to go to the Basketball World Cup 2019 in China with a special event at Beijing’s Wukesong Culture & Sports Centre, where former China international and global icon Yao Ming was unveiled as the competition’s first ambassador.
On hand for this milestone event were a number of distinguished guests, including China’s Vice Minister of Sports, Mr Gao Zhidan; the Vice Secretary General of Beijing Municipal Government, Mr Jiang Fan; members of the China 2019 Local Organising Committee (LOC), officials from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and representatives from the eight host cities as well as FIBA Partners. They were joined by FIBA Chief Operating Officer Markus Studer and FIBA Media and Marketing Services (FMMS) Director General Frank Leenders.
Yao Ming – who achieved stardom by representing China’s national team at two FIBA Basketball World Cups and three Olympic Games, as well as by leading his country to three FIBA Asia Cup titles – spoke of the immense pride he feels in being an ambassador for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in his homeland.
He said: “I am very excited that China will host the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 1,000 days. We are looking forward to seeing many star players from around the world and witnessing fantastic games. There will be a great battle to be crowned world champions and get the right to lift the Naismith Trophy.
“I have played in two FIBA Basketball World Cups. Many players prepare for years to earn this honour and in that time they invest a lot of time and effort to achieve wins on the biggest stage.
“We will organise and promote a FIBA Basketball World Cup that will delight basketball fans and attract even more people to follow our great sport.”
In 2015, Yao Ming headed the successful bid to bring FIBA’s flagship event to China for the very first time.
His unveiling as ambassador is the first of many exciting activities that will take place in the lead-up to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. Among others, the Draw – and thereafter the regular games – of the Qualifiers, the launch of China 2019’s logo and mascot, the Trophy Tour and the unveiling of more ambassadors will follow before the action tips off on 31 August 2019.