New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) on Tuesday instructed schools to examine their sports facilities and open more basketball courts to the public at night, as basketball fever sweeps the nation because of the recent success of NBA sensation Jeremy Lin (林書豪).
Lin, the first US-born player of Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA, has triggered “Linsanity” and become a hero in Taiwan as he appears to have turned around the New York Knicks’ fortunes in what had been a disappointing season before Lin began to receive significant playing time.
Against this backdrop, the New Taipei City Government said it would provide subsidies or seek sponsorship to maintain its basketball courts, pay electricity costs and hire night guards as part of its efforts to promote the sport.
This would allow more people in local communities to practice the sport, Chu said.
Some basketball courts at riverside parks could also be equipped with sensors that would help save electricity at times of night when the courts are empty, he said.
New Taipei City Education Department Commissioner Lin Teng-chiao (林騰蛟) said the city would also organize more basketball games for students.
The department would also arrange for live streaming of an NBA game next month and invite professional players to coach young basketball enthusiasts, he said.
Meanwhile, Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) said he welcomed suggestions that the Sports Affairs Council help promote basketball in the country.