As the US National Basketball Association’s (NBA) latest sensation Jeremy Lin (林書豪) wowed basketball fans with his phenomenal performance on court, Chinese Taipei Basketball Association chairman Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) said the association would continue to invite Lin to represent the national basketball team in international tournaments.
Lin, the first Taiwanese--American to play in the NBA, had been overlooked and cut by two other NBA teams in December.
However, the point guard has now gotten off the bench and led the New York Knicks to a fifth consecutive win yesterday.
Ting said he invited Lin to play in the national basketball team when he met Lin and his parents on a visit to the US last year. Lin declined the offer at the time because of a knee injury, Ting said.
Ting said at the time that Lin had been unable to demonstrate his full talents as a basketball player, and added that he was proud to see Lin become the biggest hit in the NBA this season.
“I always knew that Lin would shine some day in the NBA,” he said.
Ting said he hoped “Lin-sanity” could reignite Taiwan’s passion for basketball.
“Only sports stars can kindle the nation’s passion for sports — for example, star pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) in baseball and world champion Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) in golf,” he said. “So we have been making every effort to get Lin to return after the season ends in a bid to ignite people’s interest in basketball, too.”
The blossoming point guard has also drawn attention in China. The country’s basketball association has made several attempts to include Lin on its national roster.
“Taiwan is home for Jeremy Lin, so we are optimistic we will see Lin representing the Taiwanese basketball team in future,” Ting said.
Over the past two years, Lin has returned to Taiwan for two consecutive summer breaks and recently said he planned to visit again this year.
In the past, when asked about his desire to represent the national team, Lin said his top priority was to secure a spot in the NBA.
He said that whether or not he represented Taiwan in the future, he would still contribute to the development of the sport in the nation.
As Lin led the New York Knicks to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, 20 children from southern Taiwan were also among the fans cheering for Lin.
The 20 students at Chuanghua County’s Sinshui Elementary School were from the lucky group selected for a basketball match last year with Lin.
Three years ago, the pastor of the Muyi Lutheran Church in Greater Taichung, Yang Yu-chin (楊友欽), and his family offered after-school tutoring to underprivileged students during weekends and took the students to play basketball after class.
Lin gave the students some pointers in August last year.
Student Wu Cheng-liang (巫政良) said he still remembered Lin’s lessons — especially that Lin had urged the students to “never give up.”
Wu said the students had asked Lin how an Asian player like him could compete with some of the more muscular players in the NBA.
“With diligent practice, I stand a chance of overtaking them,” Wu quoted Lin as saying. “Just never give up on anything, and never underestimate yourself.”
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer