Sports / Stars

Two for the show

By Qiu Quanlin in Haikou (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-25 07:42

Yao, Iverson tee it up with global glitterati at Mission Hills event

Two for the show

Former NBA All-Star center Yao Ming kicks a soccer ball during the 2016 Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am in Haikou, Hainan province, over the weekend. [Photo/IC]

Yao Ming and Allen Iverson went head-to-head on the weekend.

No, the former NBA All-Stars didn't square off in a shooting competition - they played golf at Mission Hills Resort in Haikou, the capital of Hainan province.

"This is always a hard game for me ... but I never knew how hard it was until today," Iverson said after Saturday's opening round of the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am.

"I have a whole new respect for the guys who play professionally ... especially the very talented ones," added the 11-time NBA All-Star, who was drafted No 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1996.

"It's a common practice for NBA players to take up golf in retirement. I was never a fan of it the way I am now. I would love to come back to China with my family. I want my family to be a part of something like this."

Like Iverson, Yao struggled getting around the course.

"We talked about how bad our teammates were making us look - they were too talented," said the 7-foot-6 Shanghai native, who was drafted No 1 overall by the Houston Rockets in 2002.

The Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am, which started in 2010 as Asia's first and only pro-celebrity golf tournament, attracted nine international pros, including Gary Player, John Daly, Suzann Pettersen and Natalie Gulbis. Former English Premier League soccer stars, Hollywood celebrities and Chinese movie stars also took part in the weekend festivities.

"The tournament was designed to promote development of golf across the world by inviting celebrities from various sectors," said Ken Chu, chairman and chief executive officer of Mission Hills Group.

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