NBA star Yao Ming announced his retirement at a press conference Wednesday in Shanghai, China. (AP)

NBA star Yao Ming announced his retirement at a press conference Wednesday in Shanghai, China. (AP)

Famous U.S. basketball players retire from the NBA all the time. Before the last teardrops fall at the retirement press conferences, the next generation of stars is ready to take over the limelight. But when Yao Ming announced his retirement this week after nine seasons with the Houston Rockets, the 7-foot-6-inch center left a massive question mark for Chinese basketball.

There are other Chinese players in the NBA, but Yao is the only one to become one of the league’s elite players. And it’s not clear who, if anyone, is ready to take over as the face of Chinese basketball.

Reporter Dan Levin wrote about Yao’s legacy and the unusual problems with China’s state-run basketball training program for the New York Times this week. Levin joins Bill to discuss China’s hoop dreams and the off-court role Yao might play in acheiving them.