BEIJING, June 18 (Xinhua) -- After being inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame, Chinese women's basketball legend Zheng Haixia says she believes that youth basketball is vital to the future of the sport.
"This historic honor should be shared with all those who selflessly contributed to basketball. Our youth are worthy of this beloved sport of basketball and worthy of our country," said Zheng, the first Chinese player to be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.
In a video speech addressing the online ceremony on Friday, Zheng first recalled her national career beginning in 1983, and how basketball changed the life as a teenager in a poor village in central China's Henan Province.
"I got an opportunity to put on that red jersey. Thanks to basketball and the red jersey which had 'China' written on it, my life has changed," she said.
"A girl who was full of doubts about her future saw hope in her life. I finally knew that I can also have dreams. You can also use your talent and hard work to realize your dreams and help your family overcome poverty."
Standing over two meters tall, Zheng claimed an Olympic silver medal in 1992. She finished as runner-up in the FIBA World Championships in 1994 and was crowned MVP of the tournament.
"I am satisfied with my career. I have worked hard with my teammates and coaches. We won medals in the Olympics and FIBA World Championships," she noted. "Our efforts have made history for our country and fans."
Zheng was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame on April 1 along with other 11 inductees.
"On April 1, when I received an email that I was selected for the FIBA Hall of Fame, I thought it was an April Fools' Day joke sent from a friend of mine," she joked.
"The opportunity to be selected for the FIBA Hall of Fame together with the greatest players of world basketball is the highest honor that all basketball players can aspire to in their lifetime," Zheng said.
Zheng also offered advice for all kids who love basketball.
"You must believe in yourself and work hard for your dreams. One day, your hard work will change your life, and you can also help those you love and those who love you," she continued.
Created in 2007, the FIBA Hall of Fame includes over 110 outstanding players and coaches from 37 countries and regions. Enditem