Yao Ming, Chinese basketball player extraordinaire and eco-activist green Olympian, recently agreed to be the United Nations Environmental Program’s first-ever “Environmental Champion.”

Yao accepted the UNEP’s invitation the day after the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing.

Said Yao, “In my role as ‘Environmental Champion,’ I will work with governments, the private sector, and the public to promote good and effective management of our environment so we can preserve the planet for future generations.”

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner was pleased to announce that Yao would serve as the new environmental champion. He said in a press release on Saturday:

“As one of the most high profile athletes in these Games and with a fan base of millions across the world, I am sure he can help us raise public awareness on the environment and Climate Change issues.”

How exactly will his role differ from those of athletes in the present “champions for the environmentcampaign?

That question has been posed to the UNEP but still awaits a response.