Former NBA star Jeremy Lin (林書豪) has signed with the Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers of the P. League+, the club announced yesterday.
Multiple Taiwan-based franchises had been pursuing Lin, but the 34-year-old veteran chose the Steelers because he identified with the franchise’s “Big South Program,” and wanted to help bring more attention and resources to southern Taiwan’s basketball scene, the team said.
Lin’s “game, leadership and toughness will bring new stimulus to the Greater South’s basketball scene, and he will help bridge the gap between our younger and veteran players,” Steelers general manager Kenny Kao (高景炎) said in a video message.
Kao said the club is still negotiating with Lin’s team on the timetable of his arrival in Taiwan, news conference for signing and debut game.
“KaoHsiung, here I come!” Lin, whose parents hail from Taiwan, wrote on Instagram.
The decision also means Lin would be reunited with his former teammates Aaron Harrison and Shawn Chou (周儀翔), with whom Lin played in the NBA and in China, the Steelers said.
Lin’s addition to the Steelers would bring fresh hope to the struggling team as they sit bottom of the six-league rankings with a 2-13 card.
Speculation about Lin possibly signing with a Taiwanese team began as early as last year, when questions about his performance and playing time in China started to appear.
His total points scored in his second season for the Beijing Ducks in 2021-2022 dropped to 309 in 507 minutes over 23 games from 871 points in 1,252 minutes over 39 games in his first season in 2019-2020.
Out of the seven games Lin played for the Guangzhou Loong Lions before leaving the Chinese league this season, there were two games in which he only played four minutes each.
In between his two stints in China, Lin spent time with the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors G League affiliate, during the 2020-21 season.
Lin gained a huge following in Taiwan after he took the basketball scene by storm more than a decade ago, and even though that backing has moderated over the past few years, he would likely still be a big hit with any Taiwanese club, given how many fans follow him on social media.
Lin became the first American of Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA in 2010-2011 and shot to fame in 2012 with the New York Knicks.
The ensuing “Linsanity” craze began when Lin scored 38 points against the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers during an electrifying home win at Madison Square Garden.
His addition to the P. League+ is also likely to bring more attention from basketball fans from across Asia and the world.
Lin is to be joined by his brother, Joseph Lin (林書緯), a two-time P. League+ champion who plays for the New Taipei Kings.
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