Linsanity hits Manila as Rockets warm up for game
MANILA, Philippines — Jeremy Lin easily stole the spotlight as the Houston Rockets practiced on Tuesday for this week’s first NBA preseason game in the basketball-obsessed Philippines.
Lin was mobbed by reporters and photographers on a Manila basketball court, a day after the Rockets and Indiana Pacers arrived in the Philippine capital for Thursday’s game.
“I’m excited to play here and in Taiwan,” said Lin, the league’s first American-born player of Taiwanese descent. “I think the fans don’t get a chance to often watch an NBA game live, so hopefully they’ll really enjoy the experience and I think we’re going to definitely enjoy it as well.”
He said he’s had a taste of the “electric environment” of the Philippines, where basketball hoops are mounted in every available space and it tops the list of countries following the NBA on Facebook and Twitter outside the United States.
Lin said his Taiwanese parents told him good things about the Philippines.
“I’m glad to see and feel the warmth they showed to me in person when I got the chance to walk in the mall last night. Everyone was polite, respectful and I was really blown away,” he said.
He said he was thankful for a chance “to inspire people, especially my fellow Asians.”
Last season was Lin’s first full season in the NBA, and he started all 82 games for Houston. In the previous two seasons, he played less than half seasons for the New York Knicks, when Linsanity exploded on the basketball world, and the Golden State Warriors.
“They were different times in my life,” he said, comparing his tenures with the Rockets and Knicks. “Different stages, different roles, different systems. … I can’t really compare the two. My goal is just to get better every year.”
Adjusting to his second full season, he said “There’s always some difficulties and hurdles but I think that’s part of the natural progression.”
He said that handling fame and fortune are a “constant battle.”
“I’m human, there’s always that element of pride that I have to fight,” he said, adding that his Christian faith “is very integral, not just me being an athlete but as a person.”
He said he was trying not to think too much about the pressure to perform as an Asian-American in Asia.
“I think for me, I just want to be as much as myself as I can, and then be real and as authentic as I can be and let everything else follow,” Lin said.
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