Since retiring in July 2011, Yao Ming has been a busy man. He's enrolled at university, joined the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and on occasion, sat courtside to cheer on his Rockets. He has also found a new passion, wildlife conservation, and has become a global ambassador for WildAid, one of the leading organizations working to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products. As Yao enjoys a two-week tour of Africa (follow his adventures at yaomingblog.com), SI looks at life after retirement for one of basketball's true global stars.
2 of 26AP Photo)
Yao and British tycoon Richard Branson attend a press conference for a campaign against eating shark fins in Shanghai. Yao and Branson made an appeal Thursday in Shanghai against the consumption of shark fins to a group of 30 of China's richest and most influential business people.
3 of 26LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
Yao Ming poses with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Zhang Ze before their men's singles match at the China Open in Beijing.
4 of 26AP
Yao walks on the first Airbus A380 delivered to China Southern Airlines at the Beijing Capital International Airport.
5 of 26AP
Happily married Yao Ming poses with eight couples of newlyweds during a collective wedding in Beijing.
6 of 26Imaginechina via AP Images
Yao shows off his defense during a youth charity activity in Chongqing, China
7 of 26AP
Yao speaks at a promotional event for cookie brand Oreo in Shanghai.
8 of 26ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images
Yao listens to his teacher on the first day as a new student of the Antai College of Economics & Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He is mostly taking one-on-one lectures to avoid attention while on campus.
9 of 26 Evens Lee/Color China Photo/AP Images
Yao and his wife Ye Li hold pandas during a ceremony for the release of six pandas in southwestern China's Sichuan province.
10 of 26AP
Yao stands next to a young student from Shanghai School for the Blind at a charity TV gala in Shanghai.
11 of 26AP
Yao dons a chef's outfit for the Spring Festival gala in Shanghai
12 of 26STR/AFP/Getty Images
In Janaury. Yao became the youngest of the 142-member of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of Shanghai. The committee
13 of 26REUTERS
Yao looks at a bear at Animal Asia's moon bear sanctuary in Chengdu, China.
14 of 26AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
Yao greets former teammate (and current Laker) Metta World Peace before a Rockets-Lakers game.
15 of 26Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
Yao take in a Mavs-Rockets game with his wife and daughter.
16 of 26Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
Yao exits the BFA Hotel during the Boao Forum for Asia, a non-profit organization that hosts forums for leaders from government, business and academia to share views on pressing issues in the region.
17 of 26ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
Yao is the center of attention as he arrives at China Youth University for Political Sciences to attend a press conference for the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season.
18 of 26AP
Yao and British F1 driver Lewis Hamilton attend a charity event during the UKs GREAT campaign on a sightseeing boat in Shanghai.
19 of 26AP Photo/Kin Cheung
Yao attends a signing ceremony for a partnership between a pro-environment and conservation group, RARE and Yao Foundation in Hong Kong.
20 of 26AP
Yao is joined by top director Feng Xiaogang and Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang during the press conference for Mission Hills 2012 World Celebrity Pro-Am in Shanghai.
21 of 26AP
Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang and Yao Ming attend the opening ceremony for the First Citizens Games of Shanghai at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center.
22 of 26Courtesy of WildAid.org
Yao poses with a group of Kenyan Police Reservists protecting Ol Pejeta, an animal sanctuary in East Africa.
23 of 26Courtesy of WildAid.org
Yao poses with Najin and Suni, two Northern White Rhinos living at Ol Pejeta.
24 of 26Courtesy of WildAid.org
Yao poses against with the KPR and their dog.
25 of 26Courtesy of WildAid.org
Yao meets some new friends while in Africa.
26 of 26Courtesy of WildAid.org
Yao drives out of the sanctuary after a day in the wild.
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