China's All Star NBA centre Yao Ming will wed his teenage sweetheart from Shanghai in August, after an eight-year courtship, state press reported Monday.

Yao, who has kept his love life closely guarded from the media, will marry Ye Li in a private family ceremony possibly in Shanghai, the eastern metropolis where they were born, met and began dating, the Titan Sports Weekly said.

"This is a match based on pure love," the paper said.

The 2.26 metre (seven-foot-six-inch) centre first met Ye in 1999 when he was playing for the Shanghai Sharks men's team and the 1.9 metre Ye was with the club's women's team.

Ye has since gone on to play for the national side, but has been plagued with injuries in recent years.

The two were seen walking hand-in-hand at the closing ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics, when their courtship first became public.