Taipei Gets A Full Dose of Linsanity


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TAIPEI, Taiwan – It was an afternoon that began with a greeting from Paul George.

Yet the 12,905 squealing, appreciative fans who came early and stayed on their feet often left the impression that John and Ringo were also inside Taipei Arena.

It might not have quite reached the level of The Beatles at Shea Stadium, but Jeremy Lin’s return to his ancestral roots hit all the notes of cultural phenomenon, NBA star and real life dream come true.

They love you, yeah, yeah, yeah.

It was the return of Linsanity, all of the attendant pregame hype and palpable buzz in the air meeting up with a performance that delivered by the main attraction.

From the moment he scored the Rockets’ first basket of the game on a 3-pointer from the top of the key to his exit midway through the fourth quarter of Houston’s 107-98 win over the Pacers, Lin was the focus of virtually all attention and idolatry.

When Lin left the game with 5:52 left to play with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting, four assists, two rebounds and one monster block, teammate Francisco Garcia encouraged the throng to come to its feet and then he clamped Lin like a little brother in a headlock and patted his approval.

Lin stood in a back hallway smiling and shaking his head at the experience.

“It wasn’t like anything I’m normally accustomed to, going out there before the game for warmups and having everyone yelling,” he said. “Yeah, I was nervous. I haven’t felt that way before a game since probably the first time back to MSG last season.

“Really, it was everything I could have hoped for. (Asssistant coach) Chris Finch said, ‘It was like all your birthdays rolled into one. You got the 3s, the dunk, the block.’ I think he was right. I didn’t know how this was gonna go, but I definitely didn’t think it would go this good.”

Rockets coach Kevin McHale said Lin’s play was simply a continuation of the progress he’s made since the opening of training camp.

“He played very well,” McHale said. “The last week to 10 days he’s been very, very good in our games and our practices. I think he’s really comfortable with who he is. He’s in a good state of mind … Jeremy’s in really a good place. This is the way he’s been playing in practice.”

Nearly half the crowd wore some kind of NBA jersey or T-shirt and the lion’s share of those bore Lin’s name and number from various career incarnations. There were red Lin Rockets jerseys and white Lin Rockets jerseys. There were even a few with Lin’s name on the back of the throwback navy blue pajama-striped jerseys that Lin never wore. There were Lin jerseys from Harvard and his time with Golden State. And, of course, there were Lin’s jerseys from that magical five-week stretch of 2012 when Linsanity was born in York.

They screamed with delight when Lin came out of the tunnel and ran onto the court for pregame warmups nearly an hour before the opening tip and they roared in appreciation when he stepped into the spotlight and shined in front of an audience that included his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and thousands of other Taiwanese who claim him as their own.

“I have been an NBA fan for about 10 years,” said Taiwan native Tony Kuo, 25, who studied business at Michigan State. “The truth is the Pistons were always my favorite back, back from the days of their (2004) championship.

“But when Jeremy first came into the league with the Warriors and then he went to New York and did what he did, well, now he is my favorite and the Rockets are my team.

“I followed Jeremy when he was in Harvard and hoped that he would get a chance. But I wasn’t really sure if an Asian player could ever have the experience he did in New York.

“When Yao Ming played, he was famous here. But nothing like Lin. There is no question that Jeremy Lin is the No. 1 sports celebrity in Taiwan today. I can’t even think of anyone close enough to him to be No. 2.”

Kuo’s girlfriend, Ashley Wu, 29, said she never really took to the NBA when she was at Michigan State.

“I guess now I like the Rockets, but I went out and bought this Knicks shirt because the blue is a better color,” she said. “This is a really exciting and fun event and it’s fun to be here to support Lin and him,” she said, pointing at Kuo.

For the most part, it was fast-paced and seemed to be more intensely played for a preseason game with plenty of banging and with regulars getting a lot of minutes.

James Harden led the Rockets with 21 points. George had 19 to top the Pacers and George Hill had 17.

Nevertheless, according to how a script might have been written, Lin practically took the game into his hands in the first quarter and shaped it to fit the hype and his image. By the time the opening period was done, Lin had drilled a pair of 3-pointers, closed out a fast break with a crowd-pleasing dunk and then got a real rise from everyone when he chased down Indiana’s Danny Granger on a breakaway and used a sweeping swat of his arm to send the ball into the first row of seats.

“When I got that shot, just about all I could do was smile,” Lin said. “Not at him, but just the fact that it happened, because I’ve never done anything like that before in a real NBA game. Maybe in practice. So when I got that shot, I all could think was everything was going my way.”

Half a world away from where it was born, Linsanity was back. And, fittingly, at home.

28 Comments

  1. toev says:

    ok. so you select whatever is allowed to post on this web

    even if there’s nothing wrong but tell the truth in the comment except that its the truth u dont wanna heard

    Great!! what a blog!

  2. yuan says:

    Many people are discussing about that Jeremy is American, Taiwanese or Chinese. I am Taiwanese but I do not think it is important. I just know that we are all children of God. Thanks God for this awesome win. Amen

  3. sli says:

    Fran, well-written article, thanks!
    Like another commenter Bob said, great to start or end a day with a positive article. And most of your fans seem to be positive people too! Jeremy Lin is 100% American, but it’s great to see him honor his parents by embracing his ancestry and his relatives in Taiwan!

  4. njghost says:

    Just to clarify, the 8 courtside seats in Taiwan costs USD $8,000 each, not $850.

  5. Fans from China says:

    We will follow JLin in the next 10-25 years!

  6. tay says:

    i really wouldn’t call Taiwan ‘home’ for jeremy lin. i think it is ridiculous that non-asian media would play up the fact that he is asian and keep calling Taiwan his home. this is backwards and does nothing to help racism and stereotyping of asians. a lot of americans see asians as being foreign, even if they were born in the united states. articles like this doesn’t help. let the asian media say what they want and claim him all they want. jeremy barely even speaks chinese, doesn’t read chinese, and grew up american on american soil. stop labeling him otherwise. asian-americans only ever want to be seen as AMERICAN.

    • John says:

      His parents think he is. I believe that he thinks he is now.

    • Game Time says:

      He’s of Asian decent and American nationality…Asian American. Same goes for African and Latin Americans. The stupid part is that people don’t call Caucasians ‘Anglo American’, just American, yet find it necessary to single out other nationalities. Even dumber is the labeling of Native Americans.

  7. OKC says:

    17-4-2-1 is a stellar stat line? Fran is the biggest Rockets Fanboy of them all.

  8. Lexius says:

    I thought it was very respecful of Coach Kevin McHale to give Jeremy Lin the minutes he needed to perform such a great game.

  9. Cheng says:

    Well, I am living in Taipei, Taiwan.
    Can you guys believe that the average price they paid for this NBA preseason ticket is 8,800NT (~ 290 US dollars)
    and the highest price for the seat is around 850$? Lin just proof that Linsanity never die in Taiwan, yet the question is if Lin could become another Yao in China?

  10. cant wait for new season to start, go mavs

  11. bob ellison says:

    Nice work! A great positive “read” to start the day, & edge closer to the new season . . .

  12. rocket on fire, Houston we have problem

  13. Rocketsfan says:

    First, congratulations Rockets on the win! It was only a preseason game but it was fun to watch and I’m sure Lin & comapny made the Rockets and the NBA very good money on this trip. Also, a good reminder that Lin is a good enough NBA player to be a starter and exciting to watch when he’s confident and given the chance. Definitely marketable that’s for sure. That’s not to say Beverly doesn’t have his own strengths but Lin is the whole package: talented, marketable, humble, good role model, strong team leader, doesn’t play dirty, etc. He brings more to the table than Beverly on and off the court. Can I think of people who would be happy if I buy them Lin jerseys for Christmas? Yes, many. Can I think of anyone who want a Beverly jersey? No, zero. Some haters might say only Asians like him but that’s not true. There are alot of educated people who like him, Christian people who like him, people who like him because he’s a good role model, etc. of all races and ethnicities. He even has fans who love him like some girls love Bieber and he still manages to stay humble and nice.

  14. Don't Hate says:

    Good Morning Haters!!!! How did you sleep last night? Did pissed your pant seeing Linsanity?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Beverly played GREAT coming off the bench; hm, looks like Fran’s going to have a tough time deciding who’ll be starting, since he’s the Rockets coach, right? Nothing against Beverly; great player still.

  16. okc2014 says:

    Jeremy Lin is American. His parents are not. Many 2nd generationers don’t identify with their parents homeland because they were not born there and may have never even “visited”. Just saying. Good for Jeremy Lin to embrace his heritage. I know many who do not. Linsanity!!! Go Rickets.

  17. James Lee says:

    So Fran, Lin should be coming off the bench still?

    oh yeah. Just because Fran said so.

  18. taipeiview says:

    As a Taiwanese, I don’t see Jeremy as a Hero or any kind of “role model”, but I think most of the people in Taiwan are really proud of him from the bottom of our hearts. Linsanity is a story about a young man who embraces every obstacle in his life and tries his best to overcome every and each of them, his life is just like anyone else’s, always has ups and downs, and Jeremy does really well in his own one. Thanks NBA for bringing us such a great experience in such a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. Hope all the players, crews, journalists, families, and friends enjoy their time in Taiwan. And, last but not least, welcome back to Taiwan every year! ^_^ We are probably the most friendly people in the world. I also look forward to seeing more NBA preseason games go to Japan(Tokyo), South Korea(Seoul), Hongkong, and Singapore in the future since they are all sports-loving places, I think it will help NBA globalize more.

  19. TJ says:

    Way to go Lin and the Rockets. Woke up at 6:30AM to catch the game here in the UK and it was every bit worth it! Plus I love my alma mater, MSU alumni getting some love from the Hangtime Crew! Go Green, Go Rockets!