- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who stands 6-foot, 3-inches tall, has basketball fans around the world enamored by his incredible move from the bench to the center of the NBA stage in less than two weeks.
Lin emerged on the scene scoring 136 points in his first five starts, the most of any player in the league since 1976.
"To pull off 20+8 in six successive games shows Jeremy Lin is no fluke," Beijing-based basketball commentator and former basketball player for China's national basketball team Ma Jian said of Lin.
The Chinese have felt a gaping hole since Yao Ming retired from the NBA in 2011. Lacking a national star to admire coupled with Lin's incredible story of triumph in the face of adversity have made many Chinese basketball fans thrilled to embrace the 23-year-old as their new idol.
Lin is becoming so popular in China that finding a replica of his Knicks jersey – even a counterfeit one – is nearly impossible.
"His jerseys have sold out, even including the counterfeit ones," a clerk at a store in Zhejiang province told The New York Times.
With fans around the world rushing to become a part of "Linsanity," the athlete's talents are being claimed by both Mainland China and Taiwan.
Lin was born in Los Angeles, but his parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the 70s. However, Lin's maternal grandmother came from Mainland China's Zhejiang province.
People in China are so thrilled about the emergence of the star that nearly 1.5 million people have mentioned Jeremy Lin within his first week on the scene on the microblogging site Weibo, China's national version of Twitter, according to a recent report by the Times.
Of the millions of messages, 1,500 have mentioned Lin's Christian faith – an aspect of his life that the athlete is not shy about sharing.
"How should young Christians live the life of the Lord? We have a good example in Lin Shuhao's miraculous performance and we should cheer him on," one Chinese blogger wrote, calling Lin by his Chinese name.