Yao first tried out for the Shanghai Sharks junior team of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) when he was thirteen years old, and practiced ten hours a day for his acceptance. After playing with the junior team for four years, Yao joined the senior team of the Sharks, where he averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds a game in his rookie season. His next season was cut short when he broke his foot for the second time in his career, which Yao said decreased his jumping ability by four to six inches (10 to 15 cm). The Sharks made the finals of the CBA in Yao's third season and again the next year, but lost both times to the Bayi Rockets. When Wang Zhizhi left the Bayi Rockets to become the first NBA player from China the following year, the Sharks finally won their first CBA championship. During the playoffs in his final year with Shanghai, Yao averaged 38. 9 points and 20. 2 rebounds a game, while shooting 76. 6% from the field, and made all 21 of his shots during one game in the finals.