LOS ANGELES, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- China's basketball star Yao Ming, eight-time All-Star center with the NBA's Houston Rockets, was honored Tuesday "Visionary of the Year" award by Asia Society Southern California (ASSC).
"It is with profound gratitude and humility that I received this 'Visionary' award when I just passed 30 years old," Yao said upon receiving the award at an ASSC annual gala at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles after he wrapped up his Houston tour last weekend.
"I will be very glad to exchange ideas and learn from each other at this event to benefit my future," he said.
Yao also said that Chinese people should build up more confidence to have their voice heard in the world.
"We should not fear making mistakes because I think that sometimes only through mistakes can there be progress," he said.
NBA star Steve Nash also attended the gala and provided introductory remarks for Yao.
During his stay in Houston, Yao was officially named Goodwill Ambassador of Houston by the city's mayor.
Yao is a veritable ambassador of the sport on behalf of China. He is also a giant in the philanthropic world not only through his Foundation but also through partnering with the Special Olympics and WildAid in its quest to prevent the eradication of sharks and African elephants.
His Yao Ming Foundation and partnership with NBA China has done a lot to connect China and the U.S.. The Shanghai native played eight years before his career was cut short by foot and leg injuries.
Asia Society Southern California is a leading non-profit, non-partisan, pan-Asian organization dedicated to strengthening relationships and promoting understanding among the people of Southern California and Asia/Pacific.