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Yao happy to slam-dunk one for kids in need

[ 2009-06-05 13:53]     字号 [] [] []  
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Chinese NBA star Yao Ming knows how to thrill fans on the court. So this summer he is trying something different - enchanting children without even holding a basketball, just by using his voice.

Forced to withdraw from the NBA playoffs due to a foot injury, China's basketball icon was invited by the Shanghai Special-care Foundation to voice the animated Chinese film The Magic Aster. The film premieres on June 19.

In the movie, he gives his voice to the father of main actress Xiao Lan.

It was the first time Yao dubbed a Chinese film and his significantly shorter teammates this time include Taiwan supermodel-actress Lin Chi-ling and Hong Kong actor-singer Leon Lai.

"A lot of animation produced in China is very good and I hope children can enjoy this one and pass on traditional Chinese culture as well," Yao said yesterday in Beijing. He was in the capital enjoying his layoff from the Houston Rockets' season after finishing his four-hour dubbing work for the movie.

The film tells a traditional Chinese fairy tale about justice fighting evil to recapture the magic aster, which protects people's happiness.

It is jointly produced by the Shanghai Film (Group) Corporation, Shanghai Animation Film Studio, Xiamen Shangcheng Science and Technology Co.Ltd for China's 60th birthday.

For sportsman Yao, joining such a production was a bigger challenge than playing in a tough NBA match.

"It was very difficult at the very beginning, although I only had to sit there and talk," Yao recalled.

"It's a totally different working style from basketball. I couldn't add much of my own personality, but had to merge with the character."

Actually, it is not his first involvement in movie production.

In 2004 he was the main character of the documentary The Year of the Yao. He also did voice-over work for the US animated television series The Simpsons with NBA player LeBron James and figure skating star Michelle Kwan.

This time, lending his voice to an animated Chinese movie is also a part of his charity work, since he will donate his earnings to the Shanghai Special-care Foundation. Yao started the foundation with others who worked for the 2007 Shanghai Special Olympic Games.

Established in July 2008, the foundation helps mentally handicapped people and the poor. Part of the box office income from the movie will go to the foundation.

As one of the top sports stars in China, the 28-year-old Yao has always been involved in charity.

He created the Yao Ming Foundation to build schools in China after the May 2008 earthquake and supports charities like Chi Heng Foundation, China Youth Development Foundation and Project Hope.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Yao happy to slam-dunk one for kids in need

About the broadcaster:

Yao happy to slam-dunk one for kids in need

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.