by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

As expected, Yao Ming made his retirement from the game of basketball official on Wednesday.

Yao announced that he’s walking away from the NBA in a ceremony and press conference from Shanghai, his hometown.

The Houston Chronicle has the graceful quotes from the League’s gentle giant:

“At the end of the last year, my left foot had a third fracture,” Yao said. “Today, I need to make a personal decision. I will stop my basketball career and I will formally retire. Today, thinking back and thinking of the future, I have been very grateful. First of all, I need to be grateful to basketball. It has brought happiness to many people including myself. Life is my guide. Just follow it and it will open doors. Out of each door, there will be beautiful world outside. Since I am retired, one door is closed. But a new life is waiting for me. I have left the basketball (court), but I will not leave basketball.”

He also will not leave Houston, and sent a message to his “second hometown.” … “I’d like to thank you for giving me a great nine years in my career,” Yao said. “Nine years ago, I came to Houston as a young, tall, skinny player. An entire city and team changed me to a grown man, not only as a basketball player. I gained my first daughter over there. I feel I’m a Houstonian and I will always be with you.”

Though Yao Ming’s playing days — in the NBA and for the Chinese national team — have officially come to an end, his involvement with the game is by no means over.

David Stern hopes to continue working with him to help grow the NBA’s brand in China, and Yao will also likely remain involved with Chinese basketball.