Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin last Tuesday returned to the Oracle Arena as part of Asian Heritage Night, but this time as a Houston Rocket instead of as a Golden State Warrior. And like his debut into the NBA regular season play in November 2010 as part of Asian Heritage Night, Lin had a post-game Q&A for his fans, which last about 10 minutes. Of course, this time around, Lin is a LOT more well known, as a little over a year ago, LINSANITY occurred, as others had noted a few weeks ago:
In the game, the Rockets defeated the Golden State Warriors 116-to-107, with Lin playing a total of 29 minutes, scoring 14 points with 2 rebounds. Here are some highlights.This was Lin’s return to the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California since LINSANITY occurred.
Lin answered questions for almost ten minutes by Warriors announcer Bob Fitzgerald about how Lin felt about LINSANITY and the onslaught of media and him and his family losing their privacy, elevating his game from his first season to now, how he stays grounded, his favorite NBA player, how he wound up with the Houston Rockets, life in Houston, what he loves about the San Francisco Bay Area, his favorite Asian food, advice to his fellow Taiwanese Americans, what he’d be doing if he weren’t in the NBA, etc.. After the Q&A was over, there were a whole slew of fans who wanted more, but he walked across the court to meet some other group of folks, first briefly chatting with his former Warriors colleague and head office staff.
Overall, I had a terrific time. Beyond the game and Lin’s Q&A session, there were a lot of things going on before the game, during the game in terms of performances, half-time dragon and lion dance, time-out performances and even a marriage proposal on the big screen and certainly everyone who came and stayed to see Jeremy Lin speak during his Q&A was glad to see him back in the San Francisco Bay Area, despite the fact that he no longer plays for the Warriors.
This was my first time attending any professional sporting game with a press pass, and much like my Democratic National Convention experience, it was quite an experience. I got connected to the Golden State Warriors through Ho Chie Tsai of www.TaiwaneseAmerican.org, who put me in touch with AsianWeek.com who connected me with the GSW media / PR relations group at the last minute and really thank them for responding so quickly to my last minute request.
My press experience actually occurred earlier in the day, where the press was invited to see the Houston Rockets, James Harden and Jeremy Lin do their shoot around practice at the Olympic Club in downtown San Francisco in the morning. I caught the tail end of the “press conference” due to misinterpreting the emailed instructions on attending the event (I got there on time, but the most of the media had gotten their earlier). I was boxed out and it was hard to here what Lin had to say:
Not too surprising, there was a lot of media at the event for only Jeremy Lin, including the foreign language press – including local Chinese language television station KTSF. I met familiar faces from TaiwaneseAmerican.org, Hyphen and even The Korea Daily – which I learned had 10 local staff here in Fremont, and over 300 in Los Angeles where the U.S. headquarters is based.
The email instructions informed the media to arrive before 7:00 pm, which I did to get my bearings. I entered the Oracle Arena coliseum and my name was on the media list and didn’t have to pay for parking before entering. Got my press credentials and was instructed that there would be a press briefing at around 7:05 pm. So prior to that, I started walking around the basketball court and saw a Chinese fan and ribbon dancing performance going on by the West Portal Performing arts group. As 7:05 arrived, I made my way to the media interview room.
A Golden State Warriors consultant first greeted the foreign language press in Mandarin welcoming everyone and wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year (as far as I could understand..) Vice President, Communications Raymond Ridder spoke a few words about the growing popularity of Asian Heritage Night as well as the growing interest and popularity of the NBA in Asia as well as the Golden State Warriors amongst the Asian American community as well as the new stadium being built in San Francisco for the Warriors. Rick Welts, President & Chief Operating Officer discussed about the internationalization of the NBA in the past 20 years, especially the interest of the NBA in China, which is the 2nd largest market – by far – after the United States.
Afterwards, I made it to the basketball court side where both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets were warming up where I was able to get some shots and video of Jeremy Lin taking some practice shots.
Then the team intro’s got started. Then there was the playing of the national anthem. I have to be honest, I don’t think Chinese instruments should be used to perform the national anthem, or maybe the Firebird Chinese Orchestra did not have enough time to practice, because from my standpoint from the basketball court, the rendition sounded pretty awful (you can hear the beginning in the event overview video above).
As the game got started, I made my way to the upper deck of the Arena. As I had mentioned, I received my press credentials at the last minute, so there wasn’t enough room for me to make it to the reserved press area on the first level. But I didn’t mind and enjoyed watching the game as well as taking in the whole experience and seeing the large outpouring of Asian American Golden State Warriors and Jeremy Lin fans for Asian Heritage Night, including this adorable girl who made a sign for Lin (who was there with her sister and her father).
I did wind up waiting in the reserved press area on the first level in the last 5 minutes prior to the end of the first half, as the press would be lead down to the courtside to view and take photos and videos of the halftime Lion and Dragon Dance performed by the Cherng Loong troupe.
As I had mentioned, there were a lot of things going on during the game in between breaks, as well in the hallways, including a Hepatitis B Outreach campaign – as part of the Asian Heritage Night ticket sales were going to benefit the AsianWeek Foundation’s efforts around Hepatitis B. Former California State Representative Fiona Ma, who has HepB, was there at the table promoting awareness.
After the game ended, I made my way to the lower section to get ready to cover the Q&A session. As like the last time Jeremy Lin held a post-game Q&A back in 2010, there was a huge crowd awaiting to see him.
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While waiting, I did see some VIP’s, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and San Francisco Supervisor, Jane Kim. Since this event was being held at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, I was surprised I didn’t see Mayor Jean Quan – but maybe she was already seated or in the crowd.
Overall, I had a thoroughly enjoyed my time at Asian Heritage Night with the Golden State Warriors. Normally, on a Tuesday night, I wouldn’t make it to such an event, since I live almost 40 miles away and traffic during rush hour is often ridiculously bad. Maybe when the Warriors move into downtown San Francisco there is a chance I might attend a regular Warriors game. As a Duke alum, I’ve always followed college basketball more. I usually follow the NBA more more towards the post-regular season play. With the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series twice in three years and the San Francisco 49ers making it to the Super Bowl this year, I’m hoping the Golden State Warriors can make it to the Finals and win in the near future! But having grown up in Massachusetts, I’ve been more of a Boston Celtics fan, but would definitely root for the Warriors if they aren’t playing against the Celtics.
But I have to say, especially given my experience being a blogger and having a press pass (thanks again Golden State Warriors’ communications team!), I really enjoyed my experience seeing Jeremy Lin again and experiencing another Asian Heritage Night. I definitely enjoy watching the NBA and the Golden State Warriors a lot more than any regular season MLB baseball game (and I have yet to attend any NFL game).