Taiwan embracing NY Knicks Jeremy Lin as one of their own

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JEREMY-LIN-KNICKS

Jeremy Lin is the feel good story for the NBA and America at large. The underdog story of a Taiwanese-American and Harvard graduate who had no D-1 offers and went undrafted is dominating sports media right now.

Lin had 38 points versus Kobe Bryant and the New York Knicks. The legend grew. Then he hit a buzzer-beating, game winning three-pointer versus the Toronto Raptors last night. With Tuesday’s 90-87 win over Toronto, the Knicks are now 7-0 in the Lin era. In just a week and change, the Knicks have gone from coach-on-the-seat to playoff position.

His exploits have caught world media attention, and made him a huge star in Taiwan, an obscure island state (recognized as a nation by just 23 countries, considered part of China by the rest) with a population of 23 million.

From the AP:

Lin was born and raised in the United States, and his maternal grandmother comes from China, but his parents spent their formative years in Taiwan, and that’s enough for people here to see him as a true-blue son of the island.

The Harvard graduate’s remarkably rapid rise from NBA obscurity to stardom appeals to the Taiwanese as embodying the virtues they say propelled their island from agricultural backwater to high-tech powerhouse: hard work, devotion to family and modesty.

“Jeremy Lin may not consider himself a Taiwanese, and his success has had nothing to do with Taiwan, but Taiwanese regard him as one of their own,” said political scientist Liu Bi-rong of Taipei’s Soochow University. “Now he has taken the world by storm, and they are proud and enthralled by what he has done.”

Lin still has a long way ahead on the road to NBA stardom. He’s off to a great start, but he hasn’t faced any special perimeter defenses yet. Also, NBA teams are only now learning their adjustments for defending him, and Lin will now have to adjust to playing major minutes every night, something he has never had to do.

How Lin handles all that will change for him now will be crucial towards determining if he’ll be a flash-in-the-pan or a permanent fixture.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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