Yao Ming sank a three-pointer to open the U.S.-Chinese basketball match at the Beijing Olympics, but couldn't lead his team to victory against the star-studded U.S. team.
Ming, probably the most recognizable Chinese athlete in America, may not be headed for gold on the court, but he has another distinction already: He has been named the first-ever "Environment Champion" by the United Nations.
Ming, a 7' 6'' five-time NBA all-star with the Houston Rockets, has pledged to "work with young people around the world to raise awareness about green issues and to try to inspire them to plant trees, use energy-efficient light bulbs, harvest rain water and personally advocate for a healthier environment," according to the U.N. Environment Program.As a sportsman, I believe sport has a major role to play in promoting environmental issues so I will work with young people across the world and try to inspire them to plant trees, use energy efficient light bulbs, harvest rain water and to become environmental champions in their own communities," Yao said.
"As the world celebrates the Beijing Olympic Games, I would also like to call upon the organizers of all major sports events in the world to make sure they use public transport facilities, build proper waste management systems and use greener forms of energy.
"I sincerely believe small actions done by many over a long period of time can really bring about positive change," he added. "By doing a little now we can avoid doing a lot later. Please join me in this global team effort."
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