Asian-American NBA star Jeremy Lin’s success was hailed as a “true milestone” by the league’s boss on Saturday, as the player visited Taiwan with the Houston Rockets amid much fanfare for a pre-season game.
As the first American-born player of Asian descent in the NBA, he added, Lin “has been adopted by all countries in Asia as their very own”.
Lin, whose parents are Taiwanese, has become a sporting hero on the island since he shot to stardom in the NBA with the New York Knicks early last year, sparking a global following known as “Linsanity”. He was later traded to Houston.
The 25-year-old was mobbed by reporters before a practice in the Taipei Arena ahead of Sunday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, the second pre-season NBA game staged on the island since 2009.
Earlier this week he soaked up similar adulation on his first visit to the basketball-obssessed Philippines, saying Tuesday he was “definitely feeling the love”.
Among those watching Sunday’s game in Taipei will be Chinese basketball icon Yao Ming, a former Rockets centre.
Besides point guard Lin, the Rockets squad includes All-Star players Dwight Howard and James Harden, while the Indiana Pacers roster features Danny Granger and All-Stars Paul George, Roy Hibbert, and David West.