Lifestyle & Belief

Yao Ming starts college in China


Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets looks on during their opening night game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.


Jeff Gross

Yao Ming, who retired from the NBA four months ago, has started classes at Jiaotong University in his hometown of Shanghai, China, the Associated Press reported

Yao, 31, who made eight All-Star games while playing center for the Houston Rockets, is studying mathematics, English and modern Chinese history. 

"The teacher showed me some mercy and did not leave me any homework," Yao joked after his first day of classes on Monday. 

Time magazine's Global Spin blog reported that the university has had a special chair built to accommodate the 7-foot-6 Yao. 

According to Time, because of "constant media attention and frenzied fan interest," some of Yao's classes will be one-on-one tutorials. 

Speaking with the state-run Xinhua news agency, Yao expressed concern about how he'd balance being a student with his other responsibilities, including ownership of the Shanghai Sharks professional basketball team. 

"I think I need a better schedule as I cannot study full time as a normal college student," he said. "I've got other things to do and I need to balance my time."