The American version of Linsanity lasted only a few weeks. It was a perfect storm of on-the-court opportunity mixed with the kind of frenzy you only get in New York, but it subsided almost as quickly as it came. Lin still has some very loyal fans — particularly in the Asian American community — but there is not the frenzy around him there once was.
But it’s different in his ancestral home of Taiwan — there Linsanity never died.
The Rockets play the Pacers are in Taiwan for the first ever NBA game (preseason or otherwise) in Taipei this Sunday and everyone is feeling the full force of Linsanity — he is a rock star. Fans wear Lin T-Shirts and Lin signs are up all over the city.
Lin talked about it, as reported by the Associated Press.
“I kind of see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Lin told a packed news conference. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to come back and play a NBA preseason game here where my parents were born and raised.
“Definitely, I am looking forward to it. It’s a celebration in some sense.”
Taiwan is just part of the NBA’s reach into that part of the world, where basketball is growing in popularity and the market is huge.
Lin is likely to get a lot of run in Sunday’s game — and he needs to show something. After watching the first couple Rockets preseason games Patrick Beverly is making a push for that starting point guard spot thanks to his defense and tenaciousness. Lin needs a game where he shows what he brings to the table.
Whatever his role, Lin is going to get a lot of minutes this year and the chance to run a lot of pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard. And no matter what, he’s going to be a rock star in Taiwan.