Yao Ming has retired from basketball at the age of 30 after weeks of rumours.
The 7ft 6in Houston Rockets player said that his fitness had been suffering since breaking his foot at the end of last year.
"I had been thinking over and over. Today I am announcing a personal decision - ending my career as a basketball player. But one door is closing and another one is opening," he said at a news conference in Shanghai.
He revealed that he would join up with Chinese team Shanghai Sharks, possibly in the role of general manager.
NBA official David Stern said: "Yao Ming has been a transformational player for our league and a source of enormous pride to the people of China and people of Chinese descent in the United States."
Yao was the tallest player in the 2010-11 NBA season.