Capping off his annual summer tour of Asia this week, NBA star Jeremy Lin was a guest speaker at the World Economics Forum in China where he talked openly about his Christian faith, saying his identity "comes first and foremost from Christ," not in being an Asian-American.
"I want to bring Christ to a lot of different areas of the world that don't have access to understand what that's about," Lin said in a 30-minute interview at the WEF's "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" in Tianjin, where he spoke about his goals for spreading the Gospel message and helping those who are living in poverty.
"Underprivileged children ... I think that's something that's very near and dear to me. I grew up with a lot of teammates whose parents didn't drive them to games, they didn't have parents or they didn't sleep well at night because they heard gunshots," Lin shared. "I would talk to them about 'hey, what college are you going to?' And they would laugh and say 'college, are you kidding me?'"
Those moments made Lin want to help people like his teammates.
"Once I saw how my teammates grew up, I thought, 'if I have a chance I'm going to do something about that," he said.
During his interview with Tian Wei, Lin elaborated on his comment about finding one's identity in more than race or ethnic background, explaining that when he was a student at Harvard the question he was asked most often was: "What is it like to be Asian."
"When I first started at Harvard every question was like 'you're Asian, what's that like?' That's all anybody wanted to talk about," Lin said. "Slowly, as I got older, I learned to appreciate my identity as far as who I am for myself versus allowing people to shape who I am. A lot of that goes back to my faith."
"I'm a Christian," he said. "I always talk about my identity comes first and foremost from Christ."
Before Jeremy Lin embarked on his speaking tour in Taiwan and China, he asked his digital prayer group to pray that he would speak with the message of Christ on his tour.
"Please pray for me to speak with love, to be empowered by Christ and for everyone who listens to have a soft heart to hear God's love and respond by giving their lives to Him," Lin emailed his prayer group over two weeks ago.