The AP reports:

Yao Ming

Yao Ming is likely to make it official on Wednesday, announcing what is expected to be his retirement from the NBA and a sport that made him a household name in China.

The 7-foot-6 center for the Houston Rockets played eight seasons in the NBA, but has missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years.

His career, including frequent appearances for the Chinese national team at Olympics and world championships, has included leg and foot injuries.

On Wednesday, a large reception hall at a hotel in the Pudong section of Shanghai—Yao’s hometown—has been booked for what will likely be the country’s media event of the year.

Hundreds of media have been accredited to attend the restricted event and are expected to arrive hours early to go through security checks. It is expected to be broadcast live in China and in many countries around the world.

Reports have been circulating for nearly two weeks that the 30-year-old star would retire, but the Rockets have not commented due to the NBA lockout and his management refused to confirm the reports. The NBA said it has not received official retirement paperwork from Yao.

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