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Linsanity rockets across Taiwan

Publication Date : 06-08-2012


After winding up a one-hour gathering with passionate fans at Ximending from 6:30pm to 7:30pm yesterday, NBA star Jeremy Lin attended the “Basketball Night” event sponsored by Nike at the Ximending Cinema Park, where he coached 300 lucky basketball players and fans, happily shedding some light basketball play.
Lin reportedly cancelled his scheduled visit to a night market and returned directly to the hotel after the end of the event.

Lin is slated to meet the press at ATT 4 Fun Showbox 2 at 2:00pm today before leaving Taiwan for mainland China.

Lin arrived in Taiwan earlier Saturday and still managed to spend some time practicing his basketball skills despite a tight schedule during his two-day stay in Taipei.

Upon arrival in Taiwan on a China Airlines flight at 4:55am, Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent, headed directly to a five-star hotel in Taipei.

After snatching some rest, the 23-year-old point guard left the hotel at 10am and went to a high school in New Taipei City to get in some basketball practice.

Although the practice session was not part of his official schedule, hundreds of fans gathered outside the gym once news spread that he was practicing there.

Stepping out of the gym after nearly five hours of practice, Lin appeared surprised to see so many enthusiastic fans greeting him. At one point, as he battled his way through the crowd, he seemed to whisper “Oh, my” to himself.

He then headed back to the hotel to get ready for later events.

Due to time restraints, Lin was unlikely to be able to visit the ancestral home of his father's relatives in Changhua County in Central Taiwan. Many fans there expressed disappointment and looked forward to seeing him in late August when he returns to Taiwan.

This is Lin's first visit to Taiwan since his meteoric rise from obscurity with the New York Knicks earlier this year and his recent signing of a three-year US$25 million contract to play for the Houston Rockets.

Following Sunday's event, Lin will fly to China for a basketball camp. He will return to Taiwan to host a similar camp for a group of 120 young players August 27-30.

Lin will also attend an evangelical gathering hosted by a local television station on September 2.

The visiting NBA star greeted his Taiwanese fans in Mandarin, expressing his gratitude for the passion shown by local fans.

“Thank you all for coming to see me,” Lin said to nearly 1,000 fans in Ximending.

“I love the energy in Taiwan,” he said with a big smile; the crowd responded by screaming and whistling.

Hours ahead of a sponsor's event scheduled for that evening, the venue was packed with fans of all ages, some of whom had arrived at around noon.

When the 23-year-old point guard arrived, the crowd went crazy, cheering and screaming “Jeremy” or “Lin Shu-hao” (his Chinese name). Some were so overcome with emotion that they even fainted.

Among the fans were Mimi Teng and Terry Fang, who had made a placard reading: “I love Jeremy Lin.”

“Jeremy Lin is so handsome and charming,” Teng said, adding that she has been following Lin since he was a member of the Golden State Warriors.

During the fan meet, Lin granted some wishes from lucky fans, including hugging, giving out autographed basketballs and shoes or doing his signature “nerdy” handshake with the fans.

The handshake, made famous by Lin and fellow NBA player Landry Fields, is described as “nerdy” because of the educational backgrounds of the two — Lin graduated from Harvard, Fields from Stanford.

Lin's new Houston Rockets Gametime T-shirts went on sale in Taiwan at 11 a.m. Saturday, with people lining up outside three exclusive sports stores in Taipei.

The first batch of 200 T-shirts are being sold at NT$1,090 (US$36.37) each, said Adidas Taiwan, an official NBA business partner.

More outlets will sell the new T-shirts August 11.

The T-shirts are red, with the word “Rockets” emblazoned in white on the front above the number, 7. Lin's name and his number are printed on the back of the T-shirts as well.

According to the Rockets' official website, the retail price for a Jeremy Lin Gametime T-shirt is US$24.99.

Adidas Taiwan said that Houston Rockets Jeremy Lin Swingman jerseys are scheduled to go on sale in November at the earliest.

Kate Huang, 21, was at the front of the line at a store in eastern Taipei, having arrived there at 7:30am.

Falling for Lin's charisma on the court, Huang described herself as a big fan and said that she would attend a fan meeting event later in the day.

With reports from CNA


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