Basketball legend Yao Ming has reportedly made an appearance in Dunedin. This continues a run of international sports stars making their way to the South Island, after golfer

in the Canterbury region.


According to a Facebook post Yao Ming was at the Dunedin Railway station and posed for a photo with railway staff.

Since his retirement in 2011 Ming has kept himself busy, recently writing a heartwarming and eye-opening account of his rookie year with the NBA's Houston Rockets for The Players' Tribune, in which he documented just how much of a culture clash crossing the globe entails. He left China with his friends calling him "Ming"; he arrived in the United States as "Yao."

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In China, Ming writes, the family name precedes the given name.

The U.S. audience glossed over this fact, as well as the entire Rockets organisation. They had a new, 7-foot-6 superstar for whom they desperately tried to adapt - Ming says the Rockets hired a Chinese professor to teach the team about the culture - yet his name, of all things, was lost in translation.

"Once everyone started saying it that way, I never corrected them," Ming writes. "I was too shy."

With a new name came a new life, though, and things got better for the Hall of Fame elect.

He writes about how an amiable Steve Francis took him under his wing and into his Hummer - "Hammer?" a confused Ming asked at the time - and helped bring Ming out of his shell. The two bonded with a 20-minute car ride, Ming's limited English balanced by The Franchise pushing through with NBA lessons ("Be aggressive") and digging into the personal - both were dating high school girlfriends.

"I learned a lot in those 20 minutes in Steve's Hummer," Ming writes. "I will always respect that he took interest in me and welcomed me. When he got traded to Orlando, I missed him a lot. He was a good teammate and a good friend, and he was one of the reasons I felt at home in Houston my first year."

Even with a different name.

- with news.com.a