Taiwan’s Lin first Asian-American NBA champ | Inquirer Sports
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Taiwan’s Lin first Asian-American NBA champ

TAIPEI—Tourism drum beaters here say the swells are up and splendid on Taiwan’s south coast, where surfing is in season now until September.

But baseball and basketball remain the favorites for sports fans all year round in this island nation officially called the Republic of China, especially in the afterglow of the recent NBA Finals won for the first time by the Toronto Raptors.

The reason for basketball’s increased popularity is Jeremy Lin, a fringe Raptor player born in Torrance, California, to Taiwanese natives. Lin has become the first Asian-American to win an NBA championship.

Traded by the Atlanta Hawks to Toronto in February, Lin saw only 51 minutes of action over six games of the Raptors’ 4-2 Finals series victory against the Golden State Warriors, but his achievement has become doubly historic.

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Ironically, Lin languished on the bench of the Warriors in his NBA odyssey that also brought him to the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and the Hawks until the Raptors picked him up as a backup for Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet.

Lin first made history when he debuted in the NBA in 2010 as the first Asian-American in 63 years to play in the league since Wataru “Wat” Misaka in 1947.

The 30-year-old Harvard University alum has remained a favorite of the NBA’s Taiwan market and the rest of Asia. The continent’s best professional cagers are striving to graduate someday like Lin to the world’s premier basketball league.

Lin remains hugely popular here from his “Linsanity” days in the 2011-2012 NBA season when he inspired a winning run for the Knicks.

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The English language Taipei Times and Taiwan News have praised Lin’s feat in past days. The Times turned its attention Tuesday to Taiwanese Hsieh-Su-Wei and her giant killing ways in the Nature Valley Tennis Classic in Birmingham, Alabama.

World No. 21 Hsieh outlasted No. 10 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to advance into the second round of the WTA grass tournament featuring world No. 1 Naomi Osaka, also an Asian-American.

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Interviewed by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Lin promised he will never stop representing Asians in the NBA.

“First Asian-American ever to be an NBA champ!” Lin wrote in a post to his 1.8 million Instagram followers. “Promise I’ll never stop reppin Asians with everything I have!”

“GOD established my step after step after step, allowing me to be 9 inches taller and over 70 lbs more than my parents.

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“And definitely wouldn’t be here without my FAMILY! While others mocked, my family supported me all the way through. Thanks for believing in me and always having my back.”

TAGS: Basketball, Jeremy Lin, NBA championship, NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors

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