Jeremy Lin’s (林書豪) sudden rise from obscure reserve to the toast of Broadway is making the New York Knicks must-see TV in Asia.
The NBA said on Thursday that its Asian TV partners have added Knicks games to their broadcast schedules following the emergence of Lin.
Sina (新浪) in China will show this morning’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, while stations in Taiwan will televise five other Knicks games this month against Toronto, Sacramento, New Orleans, New Jersey and Atlanta. ESPN Philippines has also added next Friday’s New Orleans Hornets game in New York.
ESPN Taiwan said on Thursday that it would broadcast the Knicks game against the Los Angeles Lakers live from 9am this morning. In addition, the sports channel said it would hold a viewing party for the game at Core Pacific Living Mall (京華城) in Taipei. It will mark the first time that a local TV channel has hosted a viewing party for Lin.
Over the past few days, ESPN has been rebroadcasting Lin’s three breakout games on late shows, which have all received good ratings, the channel said.
Ironically, Lin’s performances have been missed by many in New York. A dispute between Time Warner Cable and MSG Network is keeping the Knicks off that system.
MSG Network said its ratings are up 36 percent over the season average in the two games since Lin moved into the starting lineup on Monday.
Lin’s emergence could not have come at a better time for the New York Knicks.
Despite his hot start, Lin said he was not concerned about being dubbed the “real deal.”
“It hasn’t even been a week yet, so I’m not really too worried about that,” said Lin, who signed with the Knicks as a free agent in December. “I just want to make sure I do what I can to help the team win every time I step out on the floor. I’m not really too worried about proving anything to anybody right now.”
The Knicks are not the only ones excited about the emergence of Lin, a 1.91m tall undrafted guard signed by the Golden State Warriors in 2010 as a free agent.
Scores of Asian Americans at the Verizon Center in Washington cheered his every move, holding up signs and jumping to their feet each time he sliced through the Wizards’ defense. Such was the buzz surrounding Lin on Wednesday that the Wizards had to open the arena’s ice hockey press box to accommodate Asian media outlets.
Since he began getting significant minutes, Lin has averaged 25.3 points and 8.3 assists. He admits coming off the bench has not been easy.
“It’s really hard to play heavy minutes — you get really tired,” he said. “I have a new respect for everyone who plays this many minutes every single night.”
Lin, a California native whose parents emigrated from Taiwan in the 1970s, came along at the perfect time for the Knicks (11-15), who are currently on the outside looking in for a playoff spot.
With Carmelo Anthony lost for several weeks with a groin injury and Amar’e Stoudemire on an indefinite leave after the death of his brother, the Knicks were desperate for a spark.
Also riding on the craze for NBA’s newest sensation, Taiwan Sports Lottery is set to introduce new betting products linked to him or his team, a corporate executive said yesterday.
“We have formed a task force to collect reference data for designing relevant betting options,” Taiwan Sports Lottery general manager Hung Ju-min said.