Lin arrived in Taipei on Friday as part of a promotional tour of Taiwan and China for his sponsors. He was greet at a shopping center in Taipei on Saturday at an event for Nike Inc. by more than a thousand people, according to local media.
“There is nothing pretentious about him. It’s clear that he has only one goal in mind and that is to play basketball. I also like him a lot because he is brings glory to Taiwan,” said Allan Chang, who described himself as a basketball fan in his 30s.
“The way you guys [Taiwanese fans] embraced me, accepted me, and supported me through the tough times, means a lot to me. I appreciate your loyalty,” he said.
He spoke mostly in English with the occasional shift into Mandarin.
Lin, signed by the Houston Rocket after Chinese player Yao Ming retired a year ago, said he does not see himself as “filling” Yao’s even though he is widely seen to be following the retired pro’s footsteps. Lin’s marketability in basketball-mad mainland China is the key part of the debate over whether the Knicks were shortsighted in failing to match the Rockets’ lucrative three-year, $25 million contract offer.
“What I have done is nothing compared to what Yao has done. He has done a lot for me, actually. What he did throughout his career helped me a lot,” said Lin.
Taiwan is Lin’s first Asian stop before heading to China next week. Lin is scheduled to return to Taiwan again in late August to coach a youth basketball camp and hold an evangelical meeting on Sept. 2.
–Jenny W. H