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Beaten, battered Jeremy Lin demands more protection in China basketball

/ 08:29 PM August 11, 2020
Jeremy Lin

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 4, 2020 shows Beijing Ducks’ Jeremy Lin dribbling the ball during the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) match between the Beijing Ducks and Guangdong Southern Tigers in Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province.  (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT

NBA champion Jeremy Lin demanded better protection in the Chinese Basketball Association after he needed hospital treatment and temporarily lost his hearing following the Beijing Ducks’ semi-final defeat.

The 31-year-old complained of an array of injury problems after the Guangdong Southern Tigers edged the Ducks 88-85 for a hard-fought 2-1 series win, ending Lin’s first season in China.

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Lin, who last year became the first Asian-American to win the NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors, was left bent double on court after his buzzer-beater missed, and appeared emotional following the defeat.

He told his seven million followers on China’s Twitter-like Weibo that “I didn’t sleep all night” following Saturday’s agonizing loss.

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Not gonna lie, this one hurts. Lost a nail-biter in the semi-finals. I wanted to go all the way with this team so badly. For God, for the fans, for Beijing, for everyone that's put so much effort into helping us and supporting us this season. Even though I knew what we were up against, I believed we could go all the way, even up until the last shot. I know we gave it our all. When the season stopped from Coronavirus, we didn't waste a single day. Every day without knowing when or if the season would start again was spent all out training, preparing, staying in shape. During that time I also did a lot of mental work in processing my past career setbacks. As athletes we often don't get a chance to mentally process everything we go through. I realized how much baggage I carried from my patellar tendon injury, losing 130 games over 2 seasons, past team situations that didn't work out, from feeling disempowered and disappointed over and over again. I didn't trust God to pull through anymore and had gotten used to playing basketball looking over my shoulder, waiting for the next disappointment. I had lost sight of myself and the bold, fearless player I once was. I can honestly say I broke free from that this season. I put the work in to let go of my past, strengthen myself mentally and redevelop my confidence. I am a different player now – carrying the lessons of my past but no longer afraid to dream big and play 100% fearlessly again. When you dream big dreams, you risk big heartbreak. I don't believe in moral victories. We didn't get it done this time. But it was worth it. Every hooper knows, you miss 100% of the shots you dont take. You also miss 100% of the dreams you dont chase. The process, what this team taught me along the way and how we grew – I wouldn't take that back for anything. Thank you to the Beijing Ducks for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to my teammates for giving it their all, for embracing me and being open to doing things a different way. Thank you to coach @jwafan for coming with me on this journey in so many different ways. THANK YOU to the fans who follow and support me, no matter where I'm playing. All LOVE ♥️ #faithoverfear

A post shared by Jeremy Lin 林書豪 (@jlin7) on

“Frankly speaking, such a defeat is heart-breaking, it really hurts,” said Lin, a guard whose 2012 heroics for the New York Knicks sparked a frenzy dubbed “Linsanity.”

Speaking on Chinese state television on Monday, Lin said he had problems with his ankles, knees, neck and ears, and would need a second trip to the hospital for his hearing.

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“My condition isn’t very good because, as we all know, the competition is fierce for both teams,” he said.

“We basically play the game and hit people at the same time.

“I can understand if you hit and hurt your opponent by mistake, but (it is unacceptable) if you do it on purpose or the referee doesn’t protect the players.

“We want to be safe on the court, that’s all I can say. I’ll leave the rest for you guys to discuss.”

Beijing’s stand-in coach Xie Libin conceded that age and injury were taking their toll on his star man, who bagged a team-high 25 points when they tied the series 1-1.

Lin, who signed for Beijing last year as an unrestricted free agent, is among the most fouled players in the CBA in recent seasons, according to league statistics cited by Chinese media.

“He went down so many times in each game,” Xie told the state-run Beijing Youth Daily. “But you must appreciate that he is in his 30s and played in the NBA for many years.

“He has injuries, his nose, eyes and even his ears — he couldn’t hear anything after the game.”

Guangdong will face Liaoning Flying Leopards when the finals series starts on Tuesday.

The CBA returned to action on June 20 after a five-month stoppage because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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TAGS: Basketball, Beijing Ducks, CBA, China, Jeremy Lin
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