November 25th, 2011
05:28 AM GMT
(CNN) – These days, anyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry has their own clothing line, energy drink, or at the very least, perfume. Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming is kicking it up a notch, releasing a wine bearing his name.
The 2009 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon is produced by Yao’s own Yao Family Wines and will be auctioned off at a charity event held by the Special Olympics.
“Basketball gave me the opportunity to live in the United States and discover many wonderful things in America. Now I look forward to bringing great wines from California back to the Chinese people,” Yao said in a statement.
There are only 1,200 bottles of the wine in existence and at 3,800 yuan ($597) each, none will be sold on the open market, China Daily reported. On Sunday, the wine will be auctioned at a starting price of 60,000 yuan ($9,429).
Some of Yao’s fans are worried he is becoming too involved in business.
“I am afraid that this will slightly lower his public standing,” Jiang Decheng, a man who has been a fan of the basketball star for about 10 years, told China Daily.
Since retiring from basketball in July due to injuries, Yao Family Wines is only one of Yao’s many projects. He owns and manages the Shanghai Sharks, the team he played for as a teenager and is currently pursuing a degree at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s economics school. He is also involved in a wide array of philanthropic work under his Yao Ming Foundation.
“Although some other sports stars have explored new lines of work after retirement, Yao is one of the few who can do everything so brilliantly,” Ma Guoli, chief executive officer of the China branch of Infront Sports and Media AG, told China Daily.
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