Last week, Jeremy Lin got an out-of-the blue phone call from the NBA Houston Rockets’ basketball star Yao Ming to solicit his interest in participating in a fundraiser charity event in Taipei for his foundation. Lin hadn’t visited Taiwan in over 7 years, but still has many relatives there. A few days later, Jeremy and his family flew to Taipei and became a local media sensation:
The 21-year-old told about 100 reporters and more than 30 television cameras that he was thankful for the overwhelming support and attention he has received in Taiwan, where his parents lived before emigrating to the U.S. in the 1970s and where he still has many relatives.
At the press conference, Jeremy dismissed the rumors that he might play and represent Taiwan in international competition (one rumor was that mainland China was trying to recruit him, but would require him to give up his U.S. citizenship). His main goal is to make sure that he steps up his game to be able to consistently play in the NBA for the Warriors and hasn’t given much thought to anything else. Jeremy knows he still needs to prove himself.
I knew the day that Jeremy signed with the Golden State Warriors that he’d be an instant celebrity in Taiwan. But I’m sure to even Jeremy’s surprise, to go from an undrafted Harvard college basketball player and graduate to instant sports celebrity in his parents’ homeland has to take some getting to. Jeremy even got to meet the president of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, who himself is a graduate of Harvard Law School.
Check out some more local Taiwanese media coverage (in Mandarin) after the break, featuring clips of Jeremy answering questions about how good his Chinese is (like many Taiwanese Americans, his listening is better than his spoken Chinese), what kind of food he likes, and what he wants to do while he is in Taiwan.