Houston’s Jeremy Lin to visit Taiwan in August

Staff writer, with CNA, TAIPEI and LOS ANGELES

Wed, May 08, 2013 - Page 20

Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin is scheduled to visit Taiwan again in August, according to Lin’s local agent, Flight International Marketing Co.

Lin, the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, will attend several basketball promotions during his upcoming trip, similar to those held during his two visits to Taiwan last summer, the company said in a statement on Monday.

However, because the schedule for Lin’s Asian tour has yet to be finalized the exact dates of his stop in Taiwan are not yet known, the statement said.

Lin’s last trips to Taiwan in August and September last year came at the height of his popularity, driven by his magical performance for the injury-depleted New York Knicks earlier that year that sparked the global “Linsanity” phenomenon.

During those two visits, Lin attracted huge crowds during his public appearances, whether hosting a summer basketball camp for children, playing pickup games or attending an evangelical gathering.

Although Lin’s performances with the Rockets this season never reached Linsanity heights and were underwhelming at times, Flight Marketing said it still expects Lin’s upcoming visit to spark plenty of interest.

Lin had respectable numbers during the regular season with the Rockets, averaging 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game on 44.1 percent shooting, but his sub-par play during the playoffs, when he was held back by an injury that kept him out of two games, had many Rockets fans seeing Lin as overrated.

The Harvard graduate is acutely aware that he needs to get better.

“I have a long way to go. I have a really long way to go,” Lin told the Houston Chronicle after the Rockets were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by top seeds the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-94 on Friday last week.

“I’m really excited for the off-season, just because I can get better, not that I wanted it to start. There are so many things I wish I was better at after playing my first whole season and realizing this is what separates good players from great players,” he said.

Lin said that there was no one target for improvement.

“I can talk about anything and it would be something that I would want to be better, whether it’s defense, jump shots, making decisions, being quicker, being more explosive, being more consistent. I think I’m as motivated now as I’ve been my whole life,” he said.

Yet despite Lin’s disappointing play in the playoffs, an article on Forbes magazine’s Web site contended that Lin’s presence in the playoffs helped boost NBA viewership in Taiwan and China.

The article said Lin helped the Rockets become more relevant, even if he was not playing at his top level.

In related news, the producer of a documentary portraying Lin’s rise from an obscure Ivy League player to an NBA star has said the film could debut in Taiwanese movie theaters in September.

Brian Yang, producer of Linsanity: The Movie, said Lin is popular with Taiwanese and Chinese basketball fans alike.

Film distributors on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are keen on the film and many have approached him, Yang said.

The film, which was enthusiastically received at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and at the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, opened this year’s Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on Thursday.

Both Evan Leong, director of the film, and Yang were elated with the warm response.

Yang said he is now discussing with US theaters on screening the movie. If all goes well, the documentary is expected to debut in major US cities in September.