NBA icon Yao Ming has accepted the blame for China’s poor showing at the FIBA World Cup.

The former Houston Rockets star shared that the fans expected a lot from China in the World Cup. However, the hosts failed to capitalize on their home floor. Their loss to Nigeria, plus Iran’s win over the Philippines severed China’s 2020 Olympic dreams. They were also booted out of the final 16.

“It is me who disappointed the fans,” NBA Hall-of-Famer Yao said after the game, per Agence France-Press via GMA Network.

“The fans had great expectation for China at the World Cup, but we could not make it,” he added.

“(The World Cup) is a window for us to look out the world. The gap between China and the world-leading basketball countries has been enlarged.”

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China still has a chance to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next year. But their performance in the World Cup has created strong doubts on whether or not they can make it. It has been tagged as an underperformance especially since the Chinese boasts of several players with NBA experience such as Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi.

But knowing Yao, the Chinese Basketball Association’s chairman since 2017, he will do everything in his power to continue enhancing his country’s basketball program. They may have failed this year, but they certainly gained lessons that they can use in the near future.