Oak Brook-based McDonald's is switching NBA superstars in its advertising lineup, replacing Kobe Bryant with Yao Ming.
The hamburger giant announced a multi-year endorsement deal Thursday with the seven-foot-five Houston Rockets center. It says his larger-than-life personality and global appeal make the native of Shanghai, China, a perfect fit for the world's largest restaurant company.
Yao says he's been a big fan of McDonald's since the first restaurant opened in China ten years ago. Bryant's once-wholesome image has been damaged since he was accused of sexual assault last year. McDonald's didn't renew his three-year agreement after it expired December 31.
McDonald's executive marketing director Larry Light says Yao will play a key role in McDonald's global marketing plans. Terms of his deal weren't disclosed.