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Former NBA All-Star Yao Ming has resigned from his position as chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Per the Associated Press, a notice on the CBA’s official website thanked the 42-year-old for his service but gave no indication of the reason for his decision to step down.
The CBA did note the board of directors made the determination to go in a new direction with its leadership.
Ming has been chairman of the Chinese Basketball Association since February 2017 when he was unanimously appointed by the board of directors.
His resignation comes one month after the CBA disqualified the Shanghai Sharks and Jiangsu Dragons from postseason contention amid allegations of match-fixing.
The league determined both clubs showed a “lack of competitive effort” and were “negative in competition” in their best-of-three playoff series that concluded on April 14. The teams were also fined the equivalent of $725,000.
Sharks head coach Li Chunjiang received a five-year ban from the league. Sharks general manager Jiang Yusheng and Dragons head coach Li Nan were both given bans of three years.
Games 2 and 3 were the main sources of controversy. The Sharks were accused of “negative contention” in a 97-90 loss in Game 2 for allegedly losing intentionally in order to extend the series and allow Eric Bledsoe, who was serving a four-game suspension, to return early in the quarterfinals.
Bledsoe tweeted about the situation on April 17:
In Game 3, the Dragons committed turnovers on five consecutive possessions with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter to allow the Sharks to turn a four-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
Shanghai went on to win the game 108-104 and the series.
The AP report noted China’s basketball and football leagues are “weighted down by uncertain ownership lineups and the influence of government,” with some officials placed under investigation for accepting bribes and other forms of corruption.
When Ming was first appointed to run the CBA, his attempt to reform the league with a plan that included dividing the league into two conferences and increase the number of games for each team was rejected by league officials as “not suited to China’s national circumstances,” per Francesca Chiu of the Hong Kong Free Press.
Ming began his professional basketball career in the CBA as a member of the Sharks in 1997. He remained in the league for five seasons before going to the NBA.
The Shanghai native was the No. 1 overall pick by the Houston Rockets in the 2002 NBA draft. He made the All-Star team in eight of his nine NBA seasons and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
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