Yao takes a math class at Shanghai Jiaotong University on Nov 7, 2011. [Photo/CFP]
SHANGHAI - Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming enrolled at an elite university in Shanghai as a management-school freshman on Monday, four months after his retirement from the game.
The former Houston Rockets center told reporters after his first day at the Antai Economics and Management College of Shanghai Jiaotong University that he had "strong desire" for academic studies and the university life was purely for personal fulfillment.
Yao took courses in mathematics, English, and modern Chinese history on his first day. "I liked the history subject when I was in high school. And I was so eager to sit in the classroom to have my first history class in college," Yao said.
Yao`s agent, Zhang Mingji, previously said Yao, like each student in the university, would receive his degree after earning credit and passing necessary examinations.
Yao on Monday expressed worries that he might have a hard time keeping up with the class as he had been away from school for a long time and, even after retirement, has to maintain a schedule that now includes his roles as a student, a basketball team manager and a public figure.
"I think I need a better schedule as I cannot study full time as a normal college student. I`ve got other things to do and I need to balance my time," he said.
Amid much fanfare, Yao, 31, announced his retirement on July 20 from the National Basketball Association`s Houston Rockets, the US team who made him a global star, and the Chinese national team five days later.
Yao had attended three Olympic Games, in 2000, 2004 and 2008, since first being selected for the national side in 1998. He was the first foreign player picked first in the NBA Draft, when he was chosen by the Rockets in 2002, and was picked for the NBA All-Stars eight times.