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NBA player and Rockets Center Yao Ming has filmed several Public Service Announcements in conjunction with the Red Cross to appeal to fans to help with earthquake relief in his native China after the devastating 7.8 magnitude struck the country and killed thousands of people.

The PSAs were filmed in both English and Mandarin Chinese. The English version will run during the NBA Playoffs television broadcasts, and the Mandarin Chinese will run on NBA Playoffs broadcasts in China.

NBA Senior VP/Community & Player Programs Kathy Behrens: “It is a straightforward appeal to direct people to the Red Cross. His personal appeal will be the tone.”

And Yao isn’t just asking for help, he’s already reached into his own pockets and donated close to $72,000 for the cause. That is, until there was a minor backlash against the basketball star, who earned close to $55M last year: “A bit stingy isn’t it?” wrote one fan.

“This is only the first contribution from Yao,” said Lu Hao, the head of Yao’s management team in Beijing. “He will follow it up when he returns to the country.”

But before Ming had a chance to return to China, Internet criticism of his ‘small’ donation allegedly forced him to up his donation to about $250,000 later in the week, according to media reports.

Ming is well known for his generosity, always illustrating that his heart is as big as his 7’6" physique. Last year, for example, Ming’s charitable efforts raised more than a million dollars for under-privileged Chinese children, and he also spent countless hours toward helping stage the 2007 Special Olympics in his home city of Shanghai.

The Red Cross Society of China has opened several bank accounts and hotlines to receive donations for the victims of the quake. Donations to help survivors can also be made via the American Red Cross.

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